Common Myths About Child Support

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Child support is a common concern when it comes to divorce especially with the cost of living continuing to rise. There are many myths regarding child support that we are going to debunk. If you have additional questions or concerns, contact us today at (303) 261-8111 to schedule a consultation. We are here to help.


Myth #1 – Joint Custody Means No Child Support

While the court may consider who has the child more often, joint physical custody does not automatically exclude the possibility of child support. The State of Colorado holds that both parents are obliged to contribute financially to support their children.


If one parent has physical custody of the child for 92 nights or less, they will most likely owe child support. The Courts use a set formula to calculate child support, however there are various factors that are also considered before determining a set amount and ultimately the court has discretion. While this calculation is based on statutory guidelines, it is still extremely complex. Some of these factors are:

  • Gross income of both parents
  • Number of overnights the child spends with each parent
  • Expenses such as health insurance and daycare


Myth #2 – Child Support Can Only Be Used On The Child

The law in Colorado presumes that child support recipients will use the funds appropriately. Colorado does not require an annual accounting report or another type of report to ensure or verify that support funds are spent appropriately. The law requires that child support must be spent for the benefit of the child – but this does not mean the money has to be spent directly on the child. The money may also be spent on expenses such as rent or car payments since the child benefits from housing and transportation to and from school, visitations, etc.


However, if there is a legitimate concern about how child support is being spent there are remedies under Colorado law. A parent can use a mediator in order to resolve any claims regarding inappropriate child support spending. The costs for such a mediation hearing will fall on the parent requesting the mediation.


Myth #3 – Child Support Obligations End At 18

In Colorado, child support ends when your child reaches the age of 19 unless they are emancipated. Child support lasts until the end of the month after graduation if your child is still enrolled in high school or a comparable program but not past the age of 21. If both parents agree in a written agreement, or if the child has a physical or mental disability and ongoing support is ordered, child support may continue past the age of 19.


If younger children still depend on the same child support order, the non-custodial parent’s obligation to pay child support does not end when one child turns 19. No termination of child support will be effective until the youngest or last child turns 19. However, the non-custodial parent may ask the Court to reduce the amount of child support due to the decreased number of dependent children.


Myth #4 – No Child Support Payment, No Parenting Time

Parenting time is part of a parenting plan and is separate from child support payment or non-payment. If one parent does not pay child support, they still have the right to see their child. There could be consequences in court for failing to comply with a parenting plan.


If your ex-spouse is failing to pay child support, the appropriate response would be to hold them accountable for contempt of court. We strongly advise speaking with an attorney regarding issues with child support and parenting plans/parenting time before taking matters into your own hands.


Contact The Drake Law Firm For Help With Child Support

At The Drake Law Firm, we are here to answer your questions about child support. We can also assist with modifying or enforcing child support orders and handle any child custody or other child support issues you may have. To speak with a Golden, Colorado, family lawyer, call us today at (303) 261-8111 or fill out our online form here. We are here to help!

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