When Does Child Support End In Colorado?

September 3, 2021

 Child Support

If you are paying child support in the state of Colorado, you may be wondering when you may stop payments. Our experienced family law attorneys at Johnson Law Group can help if you are asking ‘When does child support end in Colorado?’ Contact our offices today via phone at (720) 463-4333 or text-to-chat at (720) 730-4558 for a free consultation.

What Is Child Support?

Child support payments are usually made by one parent to another for the coverage of basic needs for a child. This may include shelter, meals, clothing, and school-related costs. In certain situations, child support can also be dedicated to items that will enrich the child’s life. This could include things like sports and music lessons, camps, and other extracurricular activities. Child support is normally calculated based on the income made by a parent and the amount of time the parent spends with the child. In Colorado, child support calculations are covered by the child support guidelines in Colorado Revised Statutes Title 14 § 14-10-115.

Child Support in Colorado

Many states allow child support payments until the child is 18 years old when they are legally an adult. In Colorado, the Division of Child Support Services states that child support continues until a child is 19 years old or the age of emancipation. In the case where a child is in high school (or a similar program) after the age of 19, then support would continue until the end of the month following their graduation but it is not to exceed the age of 21.

When Child Support May Be Extended

The continuation of child support payments may be extended beyond the age of 19 in certain circumstances:

  • In the case where a child drops out of high school and later re-enrolls, child support payment is due one month after the date of their graduation. In this case, support will not continue beyond the age of 21.
  • If a child is physically or mentally disabled, child support can continue beyond 19.
  • If a child gets married and the marriage is later dissolved or annulled, child support may be reinstated.
  • If children cannot financially support themselves or live on their own.

When Child Support May Be Shortened

Sometimes, a teen decides to become financially and physically independent of their parents or caregivers before the age of 19. Under Colorado Revised Statutes §14-10-115, you may stop paying child support in this situation. Other reasons why child support may end in Colorado:

  • The child decides to get married;
  • They have their own source of employment and financial income;
  • When a child joins the military before their 19th birthday;
  • Parents agree in writing that the child is emancipated.

When Child Support Ends

Child support obligations automatically end with no additional action needed on your behalf when the youngest child that is supported turns 19. This means that neither parent is required to file a motion to cease payments once the child turns 19. If a child turns 19 but is not the youngest child and you desire a modification in support, you would then need to file a support medication request before stopping payments for child support.

Modifications of Child Support

There are often situations that affect your ability to pay child support and which may also require a modification. These may include:

  • Losing your source of income
  • A change in how much time the parent is spending with the child
  • Obtaining a job that pays you additional income
  • One or both parents decide to return to school for an additional or first-degree
  • Your child falling into one of the exceptions to child support (for example, if they get married)

If you believe that the amount of child support owed is unfair you may ask the court for a departure or “deviation” from that amount. In that case, a judge will take into account your situation and determine if the guidelines for child support have been applied fairly given your circumstance. An experienced family law attorney can help navigate the legal system if you are wondering whether your child support payments are fair. The attorneys at Johnson Law Group can help you apply for a deviation or modification request for your child support.

On the other hand, there are certain situations that, if they occur, do not qualify for a modification of child support. If you are responsible for child support payments and decide to remarry, the necessity to support stepchildren is not a valid reason to request a modification to child support. In addition, if the child paying child support dies the child support duties do not terminate. If the parent dies, the estate of the deceased parent may pay for the child support. If You Stop Paying Child Support.

Stopping Child Support

If for any reason you stop paying child support while you are obligated to do so, the amount that is unpaid continues to add up until you make the account current. Any unpaid amount is called “arrearages.”

It is advised not to simply stop paying child support as the consequences can be severe if your arrearages continue to grow. If you have arrearages, the state of Colorado will attempt to acquire those funds on your behalf by doing the following:

  • Intercepting tax refunds
  • Seizing bank account funds
  • They may decide to report the amount you owe to credit bureaus
  • Suspending one’s driver’s license
  • Income assignments

Income assignments are one way the state may proactively try to prevent further arrearages. In income assignments, the state contacts your employer to request that it withhold child support from your paycheck and forward it to the Family Support Registry. Income assignments may extend beyond income earned to retirement benefits and unemployment checks.

Instead of ceasing payments on child support, it is advised to request a modification from the court if your circumstances have significantly changed.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today

Determining your rights related to modifying child support or stopping child support payments will depend upon the facts of your unique situation. The attorneys at Johnson Law Group can guide you through the options that might be available if you are wondering when child support ends in Colorado. Contact us today via phone at (720) 463-4333 or text-to-chat at (720) 730-4558 to learn more.

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Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
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