Colorado Child Support Calculator


Court may increase support if combined income is more than $30,000.

Not in Colorado? Use your location's child support calculator.

Courts often use wrong parenting time estimates when calculating child support, which could make your child support either too high or too low.

Custody X Change calculates parenting time accurately, so your child support will have the fairest outcome for your kids.

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Colorado child support calculations

Child support, when the judge orders it, is a parent's responsibility and a child's right.

Typically, the parent pays support for each child until that child turns 19 or, if the child remains in high school, until age 21. The court may order payments to continue if the child is disabled.

You or your lawyer must calculate the expected child support amount based on the state formula. The judge will consider this amount and your unique situation before setting the final amount.

You can propose a different amount (including no support) before the judge makes a ruling. If the other parent disagrees, you'll have a hearing. If they agree, the judge will usually approve your proposal, unless it would risk the child's financial well-being.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

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How to request child support

Child support is addressed as part of any divorce or parenting responsibilities case. If you have an open case of this type, don't apply separately for support.

If you never received a child support order in Colorado and you don't have an open court case that will decide support, you can apply for child support online through the Colorado Division of Child Support Services (CSS). Paper applications are available too. A Spanish translation is available on paper only.

When you apply, enter the county of any previous court case about the child. If there was no court case, enter the county where you live.

It's important to prepare supporting financial documents, such as pay stubs, tax returns and expense reports with receipts, so you can provide them if asked.

If you receive funds from Colorado Works — the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program — don't fill out the child support application. In this situation, CSS already has a file for you, so just call the child support office in the same county that gives you the TANF.

Colorado's child support formula

The child support formula produces a recommended payment amount. The judge can order a different amount if they have a reason.

One factor in the formula is your overnight parenting time. You can use Custody X Change to calculate your number of overnights in a 365-day period.

The formula also considers both parents' income and expenses, including child support for other children and spousal maintenance (also called alimony).

Here's how the court deals with some special situations:

If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the judge considers their potential income. This calculation begins with the minimum wage and can be higher, based on the parent's education and job experience. An exception: For a baby's first two years, the custodial parent isn't assumed to have any potential income.

If your income added with the other parent's income totals more than $360,000 annually, your earnings are literally off Colorado's chart. The court will order at least what the formula recommends for parents earning $360,000 — and often more.

You can claim more expenses if another child — one not involved in this child support case but for whom you are legally responsible — lives in your house.

Calculating recommended child support

To estimate how much child support the state recommends in your case, use the calculator above. Eventually, you'll need to calculate more precisely (even if you're proposing your own amount to the court).

If you prefer to have the math done automatically, use Family Law Software.

In case you like to do your math yourself, the court provides printable worksheets:

How child support is paid

The parent who pays (the obligor) can pay child support online, taken from their bank account on a one-time or recurring basis. They can also mail a check or set up the ability to pay by phone.

A parent who receives at least $550 of child support each year has to pay a $35 annual service fee. It is deducted from the child support payment.

If the parent who is owed child support also receives Colorado Works or other public assistance, the government may keep some of the support that is paid.

How child support is enforced

If you're not receiving the money you're owed, call your county child support office. Child Support Services has the authority to ask employers to take up to 60 percent of a parent's paycheck and send it to pay a child support obligation.

If a parent doesn't pay:

  • They may be reported to credit bureaus.
  • Their driver's license may be suspended.
  • Their professional, occupational or recreational licenses may be suspended.
  • Their passport may be suspended.
  • Their bank account may be frozen.

In extreme cases, not paying is a criminal offense.

How to change child support

If you want a different support amount, you can file a Motion to Modify Child Support. If you agree with the other parent on the modification, you'll both sign the motion. The court won't consider changes that would affect your amount by less than 10 percent.

Justify the request by indicating what has changed for you and the other parent. This must be a "substantial and continuing" situation, such as a change to your income, expenses or parenting time.

If Child Support Services is enforcing payments, send them a copy of your motion.

You'll have to serve the other parent with the motion, unless you asked for the modification together. They file a written response (JDF 1315) within 21 days of being served.

You both must provide a Sworn Financial Statement (JDF 1111) and Certificate of Compliance With Mandatory Financial Disclosures (JDF 1104) within 42 days of service (or of filing the case together).

Calculating your parenting time

Parenting time is an important factor in Colorado child support calculations.

Lawyers (and even the court) usually estimate a parent's number of overnights because manually calculating is tedious.

But estimating can affect your support order by thousands of dollars a year. The Custody X Change app lets you quickly and accurately calculate your exact overnights.

Don't merely guess at your parenting time. Calculate it exactly to get a fair child support payment.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

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