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Proposed Bills Could Bring Changes to Colorado Child Support

The Harris Law Firm

Colorado lawmakers have a great deal to ponder over this legislative session, including several measures which may impact child support and related child custody or family law proceedings.

As a family law firm committed to providing insight-driven representation, The Harris Law Firm outlines some of these bills below.

House Bill 1215

House Bill 1215 (HB19-1215) is one of the hottest and most debated bills before the Colorado legislature right now. The measure stems from recommendations made by the State of Colorado Child Support Commission, which issues a report every four years about its review of state child support guidelines and its recommended changes.

Some of these changes include:

  • Establishing a percentage reduction in child support orders based on the number of overnight stays for parents with less than 183 overnights;
  • Defining “mandatory school fees” as they relate to child support calculations;
  • Adding federal factors that must be considered when determining a parent’s potential income when that parent is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed;
  • Removing the current requirement that child support be based on the minimum wage for 40-hours a week;
  • Reducing the amount of time after a custodial parent has before income is imputed from 30 months after a child’s birth to 24 months;
  • Changing how income is calculated and assigned when parents are sentenced to jail / prison for 180 days or more, when a non-custodial parent is enrolled in post-secondary higher education, and when parents have a combined, adjusted gross income no greater than $3,450;
  • Creating a minimum $10 child support order for parents with income below $650; and
  • Requiring non-custodial parents to notify custodial parents about any dependent benefits a child may qualify for based on a non-custodial parent’s disability or retirement.

Though there are a number of recommended revisions, the biggest concern for many family law attorneys and parents is the proposed creation of a percentage reduction in child support based on overnights – or the 192 / 193 (Worksheet A vs. Worksheet B) jump.

Our legislatures will be deciding what to do about this huge discrepancy in support from one worksheet to the other. The main issue is that it is forcing parents to fight for more overnights, even when it isn’t in a child’s best interest or isn’t what that parent actually wants, as opposed to the idea that the primary parent needs financial support. As noted by Founding Attorney Rich Harris:

“We at The Harris Law Firm are following this proposed legislation closely. We are concerned about any change in Colorado law which, however, well-intentioned, could cause more, and not less, child custody litigation.”

House Bill 1363

HB18-1363 concerns the implementation of proposed changes to matters of child support enforcement and child support services, including:

  • Authorizing a county CSEU (Child Support Enforcement Unit) to file and serve subpoenas compelling parties to provide samples for paternity tests;
  • Clarifying requirements which allow Family Courts to issue orders of default;
  • Creating rules for negotiation conferences which establish child support obligations, as well as processes for when those scheduled conferences are missed;
  • Establishing the rights and duties of all parties involving in administrative child support actions, and adjusting certain procedural rules.

House Bill 1125

HB19-1125 focuses on eliminating the use of monetary bail for low-level criminal offenders, with exceptions in some rare cases.

It addresses the many issues low-level, and lower income individuals may face when bail in petty or unclassified offense cases is set so low that many bondsmen won’t offer their services. This often leaves an offender on the hook for paying the full amount of bail, or spending days or a week behind bars until their scheduled court date.

Though the measure concerns criminal law, it could have an impact on parents of limited means – for whom spending even just a few days in jail can have life-altering and far-reaching consequences, including an impact on employment and any child custody or child support issues to which they may be a party.

Experienced Child Support & Family Lawyers Serving Colorado

The Harris Law Firm provides value-drive, experienced representation to a diverse clientele in family law cases across the state of Colorado. Our attorneys are intent on staying apprised of the latest legal trends and pending legislative acts, and on ensuring our clients receive the comprehensive and compassionate support they need to navigate their legal journeys effectively.

Have questions about a child support, divorce, or any other family law matter in Colorado? Call (303) 622-5502 or contact us online to speak with an attorney from The Harris Law Firm.

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