In a family law case involving children, a court order will always include one of two things. One might be a separate child support order. The other may be specific requirements that detail the amount and frequency of child support payments to be made.
As a State, Colorado takes child support enforcement quite seriously. A child’s basic needs, after all, are dependent on a custodial parent. That parent, in turn, depends on the non-custodial parent paying child support on time. Colorado, therefore, has numerous means to make sure child support payments are timely; enforcing sanctions and penalties on parents who deliberately violate a child support order.
Let’s consider what happens when child support payments are due and are not paid. In that case, the parent receiving child support can request that a court issue a judgment against the other parent. The amount would be for a specific dollar amount of late child support. The judgment would specify the period of past due support and the amount still owed by the other parent. Judgments must be paid on past due child support in addition to any regular and ongoing support payments.
What else is an owed parent who receives child support able to receive? The answer is interest on the unpaid payments. Per Colorado law, unpaid child support payments accrue interest at a 12% per year. And, they are compounded monthly on each payment. Until the outstanding debt is fully paid, this interest continues to accumulate.
Before July, 1986, however, rates were different. Before that time, interest on missed payments, retroactive support and adjudicated arrears was at three different levels in three different periods. There was a 6% simple interest prior to June 30, 1975, an 8% simple interest from July 1, 1975 through June 30, 1979, and an 8% compound interest from July 1, 1979 through June 30, 1986.
High interest rates and monthly compounding makes the interest on unpaid child support payments mount quickly. That serves to penalize parents who fail to make payments. It also serves to encourage other parents to make timely payments.
There’s another thing you should know. If you should try to collect past child support payments or child support arrears through Colorado Child Support Services, they will not collect the 12% yearly interest owed. Work, therefore, with an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney. They can ensure you are paid the full amount of child support you are owed, inclusive of interest.