When Can Child Support Modifications Be Made?

8543501_sColorado courts follow a standard formula to determine the amount of child support to be paid. This formula typically takes into account factors such as the gross income of both parents, the cost of providing healthcare, and any spousal support you pay or receive. The costs of raising the child are also taken into consideration, such as whether the child still requires day care. If there is a significant change in circumstances, however, child support modifications may still be made later on.

A child support modification refers to a change to a child support order that already exists. This modification may be upward—such as if the receiving parent requests for more money, or downward—if the paying parent requests for the payment to be reduced. Child support orders may still be modified if there is a substantial and continuing change of circumstances. According to Colorado statute, a change of circumstances refers to a change in monthly amount by at least 10%.

The upward or downward change of 10% or more is dependent on changes in factors that determine the monthly amount of child support. These factors include changes to parental income, changes to a parent or the child’s health insurance, or changes in visitation and custodial arrangements.

Keep in mind that child support arrangements are deemed official court orders, and the failure to follow a child support order may result in serious legal implications. If there is a dramatic change in circumstances, your current child support arrangement may be adjusted to offset this change.

Common examples of reasons to request a modification of child support are the child now living with the other parent, there no longer being a day care expense for the child, or a parent losing a job involuntarily or suffering a significant income loss. Note that additional expenses such as a new house or car do not justify a modification in child support.

Generally, child support is deemed modifiable retroactively to the date the motion is first filed. This means you should immediately request a modification when circumstances warrant it, as the court may opt to implement the new child support figure to the date of your filing. In some instances, child support may also be modified retroactively to the date a change in custody of a child is agreed upon.

It is possible for a child support order to be modified more than once, as a modification request may actually be filed as often as needed. Modifications to child support can typically be made until the child reaches the age of emancipation at 19 years old, provided the change in circumstances results in the child support order either increasing or decreasing by at least 10%.