The end of a relationship can be traumatic, no matter the circumstances. However, if a child is involved, the stakes are higher. Figuring out how parents will divide financial responsibility for their children can be among the most challenging issues to confront when a couple splits. It is also among the most important issues to resolve. A dedicated attorney who handles family law cases could provide needed advice and counsel to help you understand how you and your former partner might divide your shared obligations to provide for your children. Reach out to a Loveland child support lawyer to learn about your legal options.
Both Parents Responsible for Children’s Welfare
Both parents are responsible for their children’s food, shelter, medical, educational, and travel expenses. The non-custodial parent—meaning the parent who does not have physical custody of the children most of the time—usually must make child support payments to the parent who lives with the children.
Visitation and child support are separate. A parent is responsible for paying child support even if they do not have visitation rights. If the parent has visitation rights but feels that the other parent or a child is denying them visitation, the visitation dispute has no bearing on the responsibility to pay child support.
The obligation to pay child support typically ends when the child is 19 years old or becomes legally emancipated. However, a child who has a disability or condition that will prevent them from living on their own is entitled to child support until the death of the child or the parent.
Statute Provides Child Support Framework
Colorado Revised Statute §14-10-115 describes a complex formula that guides the allocation of child support between two parents. When ordering child support, Loveland courts consider:
- Any specific medical and educational needs of the child
- Each parent’s resources and ability to earn
- Each parent’s financial needs
- The child’s financial resources, if any
- The lifestyle the child enjoyed before the parents separated
A child support agreement that is responsive to each of these factors, particularly ensuring that medical and educational needs are provided for and lifestyle is not compromised, might be acceptable even if it does not conform exactly to the formula. A seasoned Loveland attorney could craft a child support agreement that complies with the law’s requirements while reflecting the client’s needs and financial capacities.
Litigating a Child Support Agreement
Sometimes a parent falls behind on their child support payments. At other times, a parent’s circumstances may change significantly, requiring a change to the child support agreement. Whether the issue is enforcing a child support order or modifying it, the parties will need to go to court. A lawyer could guide the parent through the process and represent their interests before the judge.
When a parent is delinquent in making child support payments, the receiving parent must make a motion to enforce the child support order. If the delinquency is proved a judge might take several steps, including garnishing the delinquent parent’s wages, putting a lien on their property, taking their driver’s license, and even putting them in jail.
If a parent’s financial circumstances change drastically, they can bring a motion requesting a modification of a child support order. The change in circumstances must be significant and long-lasting to merit modification.
Discuss Your Legal Rights With a Loveland Child Support Attorney
Determining child support arrangements can be emotional. It often happens that each parent feels that the other is taking advantage of them or not fully appreciating their contribution. A skilled legal professional could help smooth the way for two parents to come to an agreement for the sake of their child’s wellbeing.
There is no substitute for objective and empathetic legal advice. Contact a local Loveland child support lawyer today for help developing an agreement that supports your child’s best interest.