With millions of workers across the United States losing their jobs in the wake of the Coronavirus, more and more people will find themselves in a situation where they are no longer able to make their court ordered child support payments. In just the last two weeks, there have been almost as many unemployment claims in Colorado as were made in all of 2019, and the number of claims is expected to continue to rise.
If you find yourself in this situation, you should consider requesting that the Court modify the amount of child support you owe, based on your new economic reality.
In Colorado, child support can always be modified if there have been changes which result in the child support amount increasing or decreasing by 10% or more. If you are unsure if your new circumstances will lower the child support amount by 10% or more, you can use the calculator provided by the state to help you make the new calculation. Don’t forget that when calculating the new amount of child support, changes to health insurance costs for the children and changes to childcare costs may also impact the amount of child support owed.
It is very important you keep in mind that a Court can only modify child support back to the date that you file your motion to modify with the Court. So, for example, if your income drops in March, but you don’t file your motion with the court until June, the court can only modify your child support payments starting with June, even though you also had a lower income for March, April, and May.
The state Division of Child Support Services is open for business and other mechanisms to enforce child support orders are still available, so it is important that you continue to do your best to pay the ordered amount of child support and file your motion to modify child support as soon as possible. The sooner you request a modification to child support, the sooner the Court can lower the amount to fit your current economic reality. This may prevent you from facing a large amount of unpaid child support that will need to be paid back in the future.