The purpose of child support in Colorado is to ensure that separated parents are able to provide their children with the same standard of living post-divorce as they would have provided had they stayed married. To ensure this is possible, the courts require both parents to contribute the same amount of financial support they would have contributed had they not divorced. Unfortunately, it is difficult for the courts to know just how much money a parent would have spent on the family unit, which is why they abide by child support guidelines. These guidelines are strict and fairly complicated, but when applied correctly, they help family law judges determine the appropriate amounts of child support. FindLaw explores Colorado’s child support statutes and addresses the question of whether or not the state imposes caps.
According to FindLaw, the state’s child support guidelines require judges to calculate the gross annual income of each parent. The amount of the child support award should total roughly 20% of both parents’ combined gross annual income, plus an additional 10% for each additional child. This amount is then split between the parents as the courts see fit. Generally speaking, the non-custodial parent, or the parent who spends less time with the child, will have to pay more in support than the custodial parent. This is because the courts assume the custodial parent assumes a large percentage of the child’s daily living expenses.
When determining child support, the courts will consider several factors. Some such factors include the financial resources of each parent, the financial resources of the child, the standard of living established during the union and the physical and emotional health of the child. The courts will also consider such expenses as health insurance, medical bills, travel expenses, child care expenses and educational costs when awarding child support.
Nowhere in the statutes is a provision regarding child support caps. The courts follow the guidelines pretty closely and so, therefore, will almost always set the amount at 20% of the parents’ combined gross income, plus an additional 10% for each additional child. The only instances in which the courts will stray from the guidelines is when one or both parents qualify for a low-income adjustment.
This article is not meant to serve as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.