Who determines who owes child support? In each case of divorce, annulment or legal separation in Colorado, Colorado’s family law court decides. They determine if a parent owes child support to the other parent under Colorado’s child support laws.
Child support is calculated on a number of things. The gross income of each parent, day care costs, health insurance, medical bills, and any other pertinent expenses. They are all factors.
There’s a principle that child support obligations in Colorado are based on. It’s the understanding that both parents are financially responsible for their child. This obligation is not the right of the parent receiving child support, but rather the right of the child. Child support payments are directed to deliver basic support for the child’s healthy upbringing. The duty of parents to support their child therefore applies, regardless of whether they are married, divorced, or separated.
Many parents wonder if they have the authority to make agreements on child support or the power to waive the duty to pay child support entirely. Yes. Yes, they do. The Court has final say, however, on such a matter. And although child support obligations usually last until a child turns19, this period may be modified depending on the individual situation.
According to Colorado statutes, a parent who gives up his or her parental rights completely terminates both the parent-child relationship and the rights and responsibilities of parenthood. This means that with the ending of parental rights, a parent relinquishes his or her obligation to pay child support as well. Ending parental rights on one’s own, solely to terminate child support responsibilities to the child, is not generally a valid reason to establish “good cause.” It is therefore unlikely to be approved.
Another common circumstance is where two people agree to waive child support obligations when both have nearly equal earnings and share equal time with the child.
Note, too, that all decisions on visitation, child custody and child support are predicated on the child’s best interest. A complete release of a parent’s obligation to pay child support may be viewed as against the best interest of the child. The Court, therefore, may not always agree to a child support obligation being waived.
Exceptions exist. Aberrations from the state’s child support guidelines are likely to be allowed if there is good cause. If it can be established that there is a ten percent change in the child support obligation, then this may be modified at any time. It is the parents’ responsibility to seek a variance if they think it is required. Any modification agreed upon by both people must be done in writing, signed by both parties, and submitted to the court.