Child Support Laws in Colorado
- Colorado Child Support LawsChild image by ivan kmit from Fotolia.com
Colorado's Department of Human Services provides administrative oversight for the state's child support laws. The department works with both parents to create a healthy environment for the child while support arrangements are established and payments are made. The purpose of the state regulations is to ensure that each minor resident of the state receives necessary medical and financial assistance and support from parents or guardians.
Filing for Child Support
- Divorced or separated parents must complete and file an Application for Child Support Services with their local Child Support Enforcement office. Applicants must pay the $20 filing fee when they submit the completed application. Both parents' names and other forms of financial assistance received on behalf of the child within or outside of Colorado are items that must be indicated on the application. Both names must appear whether or not there is a restraining order or concern of domestic violence regarding one of the child's parents
- The biological father's paternity must be validated, particularly for separated unmarried couples. A copy of an Acknowledgement of Paternity that is filed with the hospital where the child was born can be used to validate paternity. Child support filers can also contact the CSE or Colorado courts to request a court order be submitted to establish paternity. Paternity tests can be administered up to the child's 18th birthday; in some instances a test can be ordered up to the child's 21st birthday.
Child Support Payments
- Parents who do not respond to a child support request can be ordered to appear in court to establish support. Health insurance coverage is considered part of the child support order and must also be provided by one or both parents for the child. The Colorado Judicial Department establishes child support payment guidelines. Payment levels are based upon both parents' gross income and the average cost it takes a married couple to raise a child. Noncustodial parents with gross monthly incomes of $1,850 or less might be qualified for a low-income adjustment that the courts will take into consideration when they set that parent's child support payments. The amount of time a noncustodial parent spends with the child could also impact the amount of child support that parent is ordered to pay.
Enforcing Child Support Laws
- Parents who refuse to pay or who are late in making child support payments can be issued an order to appear in court so that back payments can be received. CSE is authorized to garnish payroll checks, unemployment and workers compensation wages and gambling winnings to obtain late child support payments. Driver's license, vocational and recreational licenses and passports can be suspended. Liens can also be placed against the non-paying parent's property.