Child Support Modifications
After an agreement or order to pay child support has been made, it can be altered later on based on a number of factors. The amount provided in child support can go up or go down. This can be negotiated between parents (if the agreement does not unnecessarily deprive the child of support), agreed upon through the use of a mediator, or decided by a judge after filing a motion. The local child support enforcement until or department of human services also can institute orders and/or modifications. Reaching a new child support amount can be easier said than done, which is our family law practice serving Denver and Vail Valley, CO is here to help.
Let’s go over some of the basics when it comes to modifying child support amounts and reaching an agreement between parents. Family law attorneys Fred A. Dunsing, Lucy H. Deakins, and Joseph W. Galera can discuss this topic with you in more detail during a legal consultation.
Reasons for Modifying Child Support Amounts
There are many reasons why a child support modification may be needed. Some common reasons for modifying child support include:
- Being laid off from a job (usually if there has been a reasonable job search that has been unsuccessful)
- Getting a new job that pays better
- Changes in the number of overnights in the parenting time schedule
- Receiving an inheritance
- Receiving a grant or other income
- Medical emergency and the cost of medical care
- Inability to earn income due to disability
In essence, any drastic change in your income or the other parent's income could be a reason to request more child support or reduce the amount of child support. There are some cases in which the income change is substantial enough to eliminate the need for child support entirely. Likewise, a significant change in parenting time could also eliminate a child support obligation (depending on incomes).
Ways of Changing Child Support Payment Amounts
We alluded to it above, but there are different ways that child support modifications can be reached. Whatever method you choose, the final decision for child support modifications must be approved by the court.
In Colorado, child support is driven primarily by the number of overnights each parent receives with a child in the parenting plan; the gross incomes of the parties; the aplications of Colorado statutory guidelines; the number of other children; and adjustments such as child care and health insurance.
In many cases, if a court finds that a parent is “shirking” his or her duty of support, the court may impute income to that party based on their education, work experience, and their relative value in the local area economy. In many cases, the court will not allow parties to contract away the child’s right to support (child support is the right of the child - not the right of the parent). A court is more inclined to agree to waive a parent’s support obligation if that obligation is “diminimis” and the other parent has the ability to support the child properly without contribution.
How Our Family Law Attorneys Can Help
Even if you have a good relationship with your former spouse or the other parent, it can be difficult to make changes to child support. Working with an attorney will help with the negotiating process and with any associated court process. Having a skilled family law attorney can keep the proceedings cordial, especially given how emotions can be tense over these sorts of matters.
Contact Dunsing, Deakins & Galera, LLC
If you would like to learn more about child support and other matters related to your finances after a divorce, we encourage you to contact our team of family law attorneys. You can reach our law firm in Denver by calling (303) 758-8981, or our location in Avon by calling (970) 343-0023.