Child Support Article
Colorado child support provisions are set forth in the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.). Their purpose is to:
- Establish an adequate amount of support for children based on the parents' relative ability to pay
- Make support amounts awards more equitable by ensuring consistent treatment of parents in similar circumstances, and
- Improve the efficiency of the judicial process by providing guidance C.R.S. § 14-10-115(1)(a)(I)–(III).
There is a rebuttable presumption that child support should be set in accordance with the child support guidelines. C.R.S. § 14-10-115(8)(e). A court may deviate from the guidelines if it determines that the presumptive amount would be "inequitable, unjust, or inappropriate." When a court deviates, the court must make written or oral findings identifying the presumptive amount and the reasons for the deviation. A court must always consider "all relevant factors" in determining the amount of support to include:
- The financial resources of the child
- The financial resources of the custodial parent
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved
- The physical and emotional condition of the child and his or her educational needs, and
- The financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent
C.R.S. § 14-10-115(2)(b)(I)–(V) & In re Marriage of Boettcher.
The basic child support obligation is determined by applying a schedule to the parents’ combined gross incomes, which yields a presumptive amount necessary to cover the child’s basic needs; food, clothing, shelter and ordinary medical care. The basic obligation is then divided between the parents in proportion to their incomes.
However, children often have needs that exceed those covered by the basic child support obligation. Thus, the child support statute also includes "extraordinary" expenses. Extraordinary expenses can be predictable, like the cost of regular therapy for an emotional condition, or unpredictable, like the cost of medical care for a broken arm. Predictable and recurring extraordinary expenses are usually added to the basic child support obligation, allocated in proportion to the parties’ incomes, and included as part of the monthly child support order. Unexpected extraordinary expenses, on the other hand, cannot be accurately calculated in advance. These expenses are paid as they arise, and the parent who pays them may then seek reimbursement from the other parent.Extraordinary Medical Expenses
All children incur medical expenses, some predictable and some not. With medical expenses, extraordinary expenses must be added to the basic child support obligation and divided between the parents proportionally. Extraordinary medical expenses are defined as uninsured expenses, including copayments and deductible amounts, in excess of two hundred fifty dollars per child per calendar year. Extraordinary medical expenses include, but are not be limited to orthodontia, dental treatment, asthma treatments, physical therapy, vision care, and any uninsured chronic health problem.
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