Colorado parents may be confused when they first encounter the child support system. For many parents, child support first comes up at a difficult time such as a divorce, separation or breakup. Most people know that non-custodial parents have an obligation to provide financial support to their minor children, but they may not know how child support decisions are made and how the obligation is established.

First, in order to issue a child support order, it is necessary to correctly identify the parents. Maternity can be proven through records that show the mother gave birth to the child while there are several options that can establish paternity. When a woman gives birth to a child while married, her husband is presumed to be the father of the baby. In addition, unmarried fathers can sign affidavits of paternity at the child’s birth or any time thereafter. In some cases, paternity is disputed or in doubt. These parents can seek a DNA test to show whether a specific man is the father of the child. When a DNA test proves genetic paternity, the court can issue an order officially recognizing paternity.

The amount of child support is determined by a state formula that considers a number of objective criteria; the most important of these is the non-custodial parent’s income. Non-employment income can also be included in this analysis. After a child support order has been issued, non-custodial parents have an obligation to pay. If they do not, they can face wage garnishment and other sanctions.

Child support can be critical to ensuring that a child has the financial resources needed to obtain healthcare and education and live a fulfilling life. A parent may work with Greenwood Village, Colorado, child support attorneys to establish paternity, seek a child support order or pursue enforcement of an unpaid support obligation.