When you've filled in the boxes and clicked on the calculate button, you'll get a rough estimate of the amount of child support that the noncustodial parent will have to pay to the custodial parent.
But be aware of the fact that Colorado regularly revises its child support guidelines, which set out the rules for determining support amounts. To figure the amount of support under the state's current guidelines, you can use the official Colorado Child Support Calculator. After you've set up an account and filled in the form, this calculator will allow you to create the child support worksheets that you'll submit to the court.
Colorado's child support guidelines take into account both parents' incomes, how many children need support, and the physical custody arrangements (referred to as "parenting time" in Colorado). Generally, the parent who has the child for fewer than 90 overnight visits a year pays child support to the other parent. The guidelines also provide adjustments to child support in a number of situations, including when:
Colorado law presumes that the amount of child support calculated under the guidelines is the proper amount, but you may argue that a different amount would be better in your situation. Whether you and the child's other parent have agreed on a support amount that departs from the guideline or a judge decides for you, the judge will have find that applying the guideline would be "inequitable, unjust, or inappropriate." The judge must state the specific reasons for that finding. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-115(8)(e) (2022).)
If the parent who will be paying support has an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $650 a month or less, the guidelines call for a minimum of $10 a month in child support, regardless of the other parent's income or the number of children involved. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-115(7)(a)(II)(D) (2022).)
There isn't a maximum support amount under the guidelines. The schedule in the guidelines shows amounts of basic child support for income levels up to a certain amount. (As of 2022, the top level in the schedule was $30,000 for both parents' combined monthly AGI, but these dollar amounts change regularly.) However, these basic support amounts are subject to various adjustments. Also, when both parents' AGI is higher than the top level, judges may order a higher level than the schedule shows, if that's appropriate under the circumstances. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-115(7)(a)(II)(E) (2022).)
Typically, you'll apply for child support in the process of filing for divorce in Colorado. But there are other situations when you might need to request child support—such as when you were never married to the child's other parent. In that situation, you may apply for child support through the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) in Colorado's Office of Economic Security. The DCSS can also help with identifying and establishing your child's other legal parent.
The Colorado DCSS can also help collect support payments and, if the other parent is behind on those payments, take actions to enforce court-ordered child support.
You (or the other parent) may request a change (modification) in the amount of child support under the current order. However, you'll generally have to show that there's been a change in circumstances that will be ongoing and is so substantial that the current amount is unfair. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 14-10-122(1) (2022).)
You may request a DCSS review of your current child support order to see if it warrants a modification. You'll need to make this request in writing at the local child support office handling your case. Ask the office about the supporting documents that you'll need to include with the request.
Without assistance from the DCSS, you may want to consider speaking with a Colorado family lawyer about filing a modification request with the court.