What Are Child Support Add-Ons?
Child support is financial payment from a noncustodial parent to a custodial parent to provide monetary aid in the care and upbringing of children under 19, still in high school, or disabled. Colorado, along with thirty nine states, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, uses the Income Shares Model to calculate child support payments, which is based on the concept that all legal parents are obligated to support their children. The model is designed to ensure the child receives the same proportion of parental income that they would have received had their parents lived together.
Along with calculation of the gross income (gross income does not include income from child support payments, public assistance, a second job, or a retirement plan) of each parent, Colorado law factors in several add-ons to determine the appropriate amount of child support. While parents are allowed to create their own child support agreements, it’s necessary to stay within the guidelines or they won’t be approved by a court.
To determine the amount of support, courts consider:
- The financial resources of the child
- The financial resources of the custodial parent
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved
- The physical and emotional condition of the child and his or her emotional needs
- The financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent
- Child care expenses
- Health insurance coverage
- Medical expenses
- Educational expenses
- Travel expenses
This information is added to guideline worksheets, which are forms used to calculate the amount of support each parent owes. The electronic worksheets can be found online, but need to be saved to your computer and accessed through Microsoft Word and Excel. Manual child support worksheets can also be accessed, or you can request the forms be mailed to you.
There are two different worksheets for calculating child support payments in Colorado. The first is used in cases when one parent has 92 or fewer overnights with the child, known as “Worksheet A, Sole Physical Care.” The second is used in cases when both parents have more than 92 overnights with the child, known as “Worksheet B, Shared Physical Care.”
This process can be complicated and lead to conflict if handled incorrectly, but it doesn’t need to be a difficult with the right help. Hiring a good child support lawyer can go a long way in keeping the process as easy and painless as possible, and here at the Harris Law Firm we have experienced divorce lawyers who know how to find mutually-beneficial solutions. If you have a legal question about your situation, contact us here and we can answer it at no cost to you.