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Income Changes & Child Support

Does My Stimulus Check Affect My Child Support Arrangement? 

Child support is determined by many factors, but one of the most important factors is the income of each parent. During the current coronavirus epidemic, many individuals have received a stimulus check from the government, and may be expecting another stimulus check soon. This leaves many parents wondering if this extra cash will affect the amount of child support owed.

Income Changes & Child Support does my stimulus check affect my child support


What Determines Child Support? 

The requirements for child support payments are based off a large number of factors. The amount owed is based off the parent’s respective financial resources, the financial resources of the child, the needs of the custodial parent, physical and emotional condition of the child, and the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the parents union had not dissolved. The Colorado Child Support Guidelines calculate child support based on the amount estimated to have been spent on the child, if the child was living in an intact household.

If one parent cares for the child 273 or more overnights per year, that parent’s share is presumed to be spent directly on the child. For the other parent, their calculated amount establishes the level of child support. In cases of extensive sharing of physical care, each parent’s calculated share is adjusted by the time spent with children. There are other factors that influence child support such as: 

  •  The potential income of a parent (such as if they are voluntarily unemployed or under-employed)
  • Which parent pays for health insurance
  • Extraordinary medical or other expenses of the child
  • Whether either child has other children (of a different relationship)
  • Possible low-income adjustments 

Overall, the amount one or both parents owe is determined by a large range of factors. And if these factors change, their amount owed can change as well. 

What If My Situation Changes? 

A child support order may only be modified if there is a substantial and continuing change of circumstances. In most circumstances, it’s unlikely that a few stimulus payments would be considered a continuous change to a parent’s income. Additionally, the order may only be modified if the change would result in a new calculated amount that is at least a 10% increase or decrease from the previously ordered amount.  Stimulus payments are likely not an amount that, when added to other income, would  constitute a 10% change.  Keep in  mind that it has to be not only substantial, but continuing change.  While the duration of COVID-19 remains unknown, it’s unclear as to how many stimulus checks will be received but at this time, it’s unlikely to be assured continuous income.  So, a stimulus check is unlikely, in and of itself, to warrant a change in the amount of child support owed. However, the COVID-19 epidemic could affect other factors that could result in child support changes, such as a change in employment status, extraordinary medical costs, or a change in health insurance.  Thus, these issues are rarely cut and dry, and you should speak to an attorney if you have questions!

Need More Help?

Child support arrangements can be complex. If you are in need of legal help, consider reaching out to Nicol Gersch Petterson for a free 30-minute consultation. Find more information at https://ColoradoLawyerTeam.Com or call 970.670.0378.

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