Colorado child support is considered a right of the child and both parents have a duty to provide child support until the child is emancipated. Child support is calculated pursuant to a formula called the “Child Support Guidelines”. The guidelines are based on what the family would have spent for the child’s care had the parties not separated. Some of the factors considered in a support calculation include: the gross income of both parents and the child (if any), the age and needs of the child, and the child’s number of overnight visits with each parent.
In 2002 the Colorado State Legislature passed a new law, SB 21, which raised the Colorado child support guideline limits and also created new provisions for lower income earners. The child support laws in Colorado became effective on January 1, 2003. Some highlights of the law include the following:
- 1- There is a “low income adjustment” which applies to a party with the fewest number of overnights and an adjusted monthly income less than $1,850. This party’s share of the total obligation is calculated pursuant to a new mathematical formula.
- 2- There is a new “very low income adjustment” for cases where the party ordered to pay support has less than $850 adjusted monthly income. The minimum monthly obligation in these cases is limited to $50.
- 3- Extraordinary medical expenses now includes co-payments and deductible amounts that exceed a combined $250 per child per year.
- 4- The Federal Child Care Credit has changed from 35% to 20% for annual incomes, which are scaled up to more than $43k (formerly $28k).