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Child Support Modification

Can I Change my Child Support Order?

Incomes change. And yes, child support can be changed upon a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. The legal standard for a substantial change of circumstances in Colorado is plus or minus 10% in the child support amount, not the parent’s income. Continuing means that the situation is not temporary. For example, if a job loss is not expected to be lengthy, then the continuing standard is not met.

It is important to note that child support does not change automatically when incomes change. You must agree to a change with the other party and ask a count to issue the modification as an order, or you must ask a court to modify the order.

Usually child support is modified as of the date of the Motion To Modify. There is an exception. If the support modification is based on a mutually agreed upon change in parenting time between the parents, child support may be modified retroactively to when the parenting time change occurred. This retroactivity can not go back more than five years however.

A change in the basic child support obligation can be accompanied by a change in the collateral child support expenses as well: tax exemptions, health insurance, unreimbursed medical expenses, extracurricular activities, transportation, and life insurance.

How can I Know if There is a Substantial Change?

Colorado statutes create a mechanism for parents to be made aware of the other parent’s income changes. Colorado Revised Statute 14-10-115(14)(a) provides that, absent court order to the contrary, the parents “shall exchange information relevant to child support calculations on changes that have occurred since the previous child support order, and other appropriate information once a year or less often, for the purpose of updating and modifying the order without a court hearing.”

There are some exceptions to the informational exchange requirement. They are: when the other parent has not exercised parenting time, is in arrears on child support, or when there is “documented evidence of domestic violence, child abuse, or a violation of a protection order on the part of the noncustodial parent.”

It is important to remember that child support is the right of the children, not the parents. The Court always has the ability to modify child support using the “best interests of the child” standard. Parents cannot, by contract, avoid providing a floor amount of child support.

Upward Deviations

It is not likely that a Court will grant a child support order below the Colorado guidelines, however it is possible to request an upward deviation based on the needs of the child. An upward deviation request will require the consent of the other parent or an evidentiary hearing in front of a court.

You have the right to ask a court to make an award that is different from the presumptive award. The presumptive award is the award calculated by following the child support guidelines, which are calculated based on an income shares approach considering the incomes of both parents. As a custodial parent, first you should start by calculating the amount of money that you spend on your children and consult with an attorney to compare that with the child support guidelines. If the amount that you spend is higher than the guidelines, then you may consider requesting an upward deviation.

Do You Need a Child Support Lawyer in Stapleton, Denver, Cherry Creek or Aurora?

Jankolaw – now merged with the WSM Law team, understands child and family support. Reach out to see if we can help with your divorce or family law case.

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