A child’s parents, both mother and father, are obligated under state law to contribute a certain amount of their monthly income to that child’s daily needs and living expenses. This obligation exists whether the child’s parents are or ever were married—and accordingly, child support can often be a source of significant contention during divorce or legal separation proceedings.

If you need help petitioning the court for a particular support arrangement, a Greeley child support lawyer at Colorado Lawyer Team could provide steadfast guidance and support. Additionally, if you would like to modify or seek enforcement of an existing support order, a qualified family attorney could assist you with those processes as well.

How State Courts Calculate Child Support Obligations

While many states have a more varied approach to child support obligations, Colorado is somewhat unique in that it sets out explicit standards and guidelines in state law regarding how much child support parents should be expected to provide based on their combined gross income. This income amount is determined based on each parent’s individual adjusted gross income, which is the amount each parent makes per month minus preexisting alimony and/or support obligations.

Under Colorado Revised Statutes §14-10-115, parents are generally supposed to dedicate about 20 percent of their combined gross income to supporting a single child, with an additional 10 percent added for each additional child they have together. Various other factors may impact the final amount of support both parents must collectively contribute, including the child’s standard of living during their parents’ relationship, the child’s physical and emotional needs, and their educational expectations.

Once the court calculates the total amount of support a child should receive, it will then make a determination regarding what percentage of that amount each parent is responsible for based on their individual income and future earning capacities. Assistance from a Greeley child support attorney could be crucial for any parent seeking a favorable ruling from the court in this regard.

What Is Child Support Supposed to Cover?

Child support payments are typically made by a child’s non-custodial parent to the child’s custodial parent, and not necessarily from the higher-earning parent to the lower-earning parent—in other words, a parent without primary physical custody may still owe some amount of support even if they make less per month than their child’s custodial parent. Either way, child support funds are meant to cover expenses related to the child’s daily care such as food, clothing, and rent or mortgage payments, as well as additional costs for medical care, education, health insurance, and certain types of travel.

These child support payments generally continue until the child turns 19. However, payments may continue up until the child turns 21 if they are still in high school up to that point, or indefinitely if the child has a physical or mental disability that prevents them from supporting themselves.

If one or both parents’ financial circumstances change significantly between when a support order begins and when it is supposed to end, a child support lawyer in Greeley could help pursue a modification of the original order. However, until a court formally changes the terms of the order, the original order remains in effect, and child support payments must still be made.

Learn More from a Greeley Child Support Attorney

While both of a child’s parents may be responsible for providing financial support to that child, the amount of support each parent owes can vary significantly depending on their unique circumstances. Even with foreknowledge of the formula courts use to establish support orders, determining what you might owe—or be owed—in child support can be tricky without help from experienced legal counsel.

A knowledgeable Greeley child support lawyer could be a strong and steadfast ally in your fight to pursue a mutually agreeable support arrangement. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how a seasoned attorney could help you.