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Colorado Child Support: Filing a Motion to Modify the Court Order


In this time of economic change, many people are losing their jobs and benefits. They may be wondering how they will pay their rent, mortgage, and grocery bills, let alone their child support.

If you've suffered a significant change in life circumstances, you may qualify to file a petition to modify your child support payments.

When Can Child Support Be Modified?

The standard to modify child support in Colorado is when there has been a “substantial and continuing” change in circumstances that results in at least a 10% difference in the amount of child support due.

The factors that typically lead parties to file for a modification of child support include:

  • A significant change in income
  • Reduced day care costs
  • A new parenting schedule
  • Emancipation of the oldest child

When Does the Modification Go Into Effect?

Child support can only be changed going forward from the date that the motion to modify child support is filed with the court. This means that it is important to file the Motion to Modify Child Support as soon as the change occurs.

However, there are exceptions to this rule.

  1. The court finds that ordering retroactive child support would place “undue hardship or substantial injustice” or;
  2. There has been a mutually-agreed change in the physical custody of the child.

Will My Child Support Obligation Terminate When My Child Turns 19?

Child support generally ends automatically when the last or only child reaches 19 years of age, but there are several exceptions:

  • The parties signed an agreement after July 1, 1997, stipulating that child support will continue after the child turned 19.
  • The child is physically or mentally disabled.
  • If the child is still in high school, support will generally continue until the end of the month following graduation.
  • The child marries before the age of 19
  • The child becomes active duty military before the age of 19.

NOTE: The automatic termination of child support provision is only for the last child who reaches the age of 19. If there are younger children in the family for whom support is owed, in order to terminate or modify child support, the obligor must file a motion to modify the order based on the number of minor children for whom support is still due.