Direct Phone: (719) 475-7956
Family Law; Divorce; Civil Litigation; Real Estate; Mergers and Acquisitions; Securities Arbitration; Mediation; Probate;
Jacksonville University, B.A.,(summa cum laude, 1992)
Syracuse University,(J.D., 1996)
This is probably the most common misconception I hear/see with new clients. Having a 50-50 parenting plan certainly has a big impact on the child support calculation but it does not automatically result in zero child support.
In a nutshell, Colorado’s child support calculation flows primarily from each parent’s respective GROSS monthly income and the number of “overnights” each parent has with the child. Day care expenses, travel expenses for the child, health insurance premiums for the child and recurring extraordinary medical expenses are the most common additional factors that go into the calculation.
If there is a 50-50 parenting plan and the parents’ incomes are almost the same, there will be little, if any, child support owed. However, if one parent makes considerably more money than the other, even with a 50-50 plan, the higher income earner will likely owe some child support.
Again, we are talking GROSS monthly income, which means before taxes and other deductions are taken out.
The income of a new spouse does not factor in the child support calculation unless there is some crazy scenario where the new spouse actually pays an “allowance” or something like that to your ex each month.
In Colorado it is just the incomes of the parents of the child that come into play.
The child support guidelines are derived off of one full time job. So, if you have a full time job and take on a second job, the income from the second job will not “count against you” for child support purposes.
Technically, the default position under the relevant statute is that expenses for children like extracurricular and other school expenses or unreimbursed medical expenses are shared “in proportion to income”. So for example if Mom makes $4,000 per month and Dad makes $2,000 per month, Mom would pay 67% and Dad would pay 33%. However, in many cases people just agree to split such costs 50-50 regardless of incomes. My advice to any lower income earner is to share expenses in proportion to incomes unless the incomes are very close to being equal, but the Court will allow parents to reach any agreement they want on this issue.
In the most basic sense, it is your business’s gross revenue minus reasonable business expenses. Many people assume that if they are self-employed then their income for child support purposes is whatever their income is on their individual tax return. NOPE!
The Colorado child support guidelines are not tied to IRS regulations in any way. The Court has full discretion to determine what each party’s income is. In many case, small business owners often pay some “personal expenses” through their businesses. Simply put, tax returns do not always accurately reflect the “true” income received by the owner. Thus, in many cases I have handled, a detailed review of the underlying business records is necessary to determine what the owner’s gross monthly income is for child support purposes.
Unless a parent is truly disabled, the Court will likely impute at least full time minimum wage income to someone who does not have a job. “Impute" simply means that for purposes of child support, the Court “pretends” the person works 40 hours a week at minimum wage. In some cases a person might be “voluntarily underemployed or unemployed.” Take for example the scenario above where your ex marries a millionaire. Let’s assume your ex is a CPA who previously made $80,000 per year but no longer works because she doesn’t need or want to. The Court in that scenario would likely impute her prior earning potential to her rather than just imputing minimum wage.
In Colorado, a child is automatically deemed emancipated at age 19 and thus, child support ends the month after the child turns 19. However, if the child has some sort of handicap, child support might continue beyond age 19. Conversely, a child can become emancipated before age 19 by getting married or living on their own and supporting themselves financially. The determination of whether a child is emancipated before age 19 can be tricky in some cases.
The above are all generalizations to provide a basic understanding. The facts of your case may result in dramatically different outcomes than those discussed above. The scenarios are endless but based on the facts of your case, I can determine a short list of likely outcomes.
If you have questions or if you would like to set-up an initial consultation please call me at 719-471-7956.
Call today for additional information regarding any legal question. Our depth of experience is matched by our willingness to confidentially listen to your individual legal questions. (719) 471-7955