When parents get divorced in Colorado or anywhere else, it is important to consider how the children will be taken care of financially. Generally speaking, the noncustodial parent will make payments to the custodial parent to help with the burden of paying expenses related to raising a child. In some cases, state guidelines will be used to determine how much a custodial parent is entitled to. However, judges are allowed to stray from those guidelines if necessary.
Parents in Colorado who can't afford their child support payments might have ways to get them reduced. However, this may only be true in cases where their circumstances have changed, such as if a child becomes more expensive to care for or if a parent experiences a loss of income or a period of unemployment. Unexpected medical expenses may also qualify as a change in circumstances that could result in a child support order being modified.
When parents in Colorado get a divorce or separate, it doesn't absolve them of their responsibility to support their children. The same is true if an unmarried couple ends their relationship or they don't live together for any reason. If a couple was not married when a child was born, a court must first establish paternity before a child support order can be created. Typically, merely putting a man's name on a birth certificate does not legally make him the father.
Owing child support can make it harder to buy a home in Colorado or anywhere else in two different ways. First, child support is counted as a debt when determining a borrower's debt-to-income ratio. Second, owing past support can have a negative impact on a person's credit report and score. However, there is no guarantee that back child support will even show up on a credit report.
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.
Debt following a divorce can mount up fast. People may find supporting a household on one income is tough when they're used to a spouse sharing this responsibility. Add in child support and alimony, and some Colorado parents may find themselves facing a heavy financial burden. When this happens, it's easy to get behind on child support and alimony. Non-custodial parents who get behind in these last two items could end up back in court or, even worse, be sentenced to jail, further exacerbating their financial issues.
In divorces here in Colorado, among the things that can have big impacts on parents and families are the state’s child support guidelines. These guidelines are what courts in the state use to calculate payment amounts when child support decisions come before them.