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Calculating Child Support
Payments & Guidelines

What is a guideline worksheet?
A guideline worksheet is a form used to calculate the amount of child support that is owed. There are two guideline worksheets in Colorado. One is used in cases when both parents have more than 92 overnights with the child. This is known as "Worksheet B, Shared Physical Care." The second worksheet is used in cases when one parent has 92 or fewer overnights. This is known as "Worksheet A, Sole Physical Care." Instructions and guideline Worksheets are available for download from the Colorado Judicial Department website under the Domestic/Family folder.

I pay for the child's daycare and buy all his/her clothes. Does this count as child support?
The guidelines contain a schedule of basic support obligations that include the average expenses for children such as food, clothing, housing, and utilities. The actual cost of work and education related daycare paid by either parent is added to the basic support obligation when determining the amount of the child support order. Additional money spent by the noncustodial parent for the benefit of the child that are not court ordered are usually considered a gift.

What expenses are considered and what documentation must I provide regarding expenses?
If you are actually paying other child support orders or alimony/spousal support/maintenance this can be deducted from your gross income. If you have children from other relationships living in your home you can receive credit in the child support calculation. You may also receive an adjustment if you provide documentation of money paid without an order for another child that is not residing in your home. If you are paying ordered expenses for post-secondary education, this amount can also be deducted from your income.

The costs of education and work related daycare, medical insurance, some uninsured medical expenses, and transportation of the child for parenting time could be included in arriving at the amount of child support that is owed.

The parent must provide proof of payment for any expense to have it deducted from income or added to the child support obligation.

We share custody, does that impact the amount I have to pay?
If the noncustodial parent has the child in his/her home for more than 92 overnights a year, credit may be given in the guidelines calculation. This is known as "Shared Physical Care". "Worksheet B, Shared Physical Care" is used to calculate the amount of child support owed.

If physical care of the children is split between the parties, this is known as "Split Physical Care." For example, there are three children and two live primarily with mom and one lives primarily with dad. For split physical care situations separate guideline worksheets are done to determine what amount of child support each parent owes to the other parent for the child(ren) primarily in their care. The smaller amount is then subtracted from the larger amount to arrive at the child support order. For this example, if it is determined that Dad owes Mom $300 dollars for the two children living with her and Mom owes Dad $150 for the child living primarily with him, Dad will pay $150 to Mom.

Are my other bills such as rent and car payment taken into consideration when computing the amount of support?
Expenses of the parents such as car payments, not related to the support of the children, are not considered. The guidelines do consider the costs of housing, food, utilities, clothing and other basic expenses for the children.

What can I use to verify my income? What about self employed parents?
Generally, you need to complete some forms, which provide your income and expenses for the court or the local Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Unit. You are required to attach your three most recent paycheck stubs and three most recent tax returns. If you have not filed tax returns you can provide your W-2 Forms and 1099 Forms. If you are self employed you will need to provide your business tax returns for three to five years as well as a sworn statement of gross business income and business expenses. Sometimes, the local CSE Unit will need additional information to determine your income for child support, such as business bank records or profit and loss statements.

What if one of the parties doesn't have any income?
If a party is not employed to his or her full capacity, income may be determined based upon their earning ability.
Income is usually not assigned to a parent in the following situations:
  • The parent is mentally or physically disabled
  • One of the parties' children is under the age of 30 months and a parent cares for the child rather than working
  • The parent is pursuing training or education that will lead to a higher paying job in the future.

If I have children from another relationship in my home that I am responsible for, do I get "credit" for them when determining the child support amount?

You will receive credit on the child support worksheet for children from other relationships that live in your home if you are legally responsible for those children.

Does overtime count as part of my income?
Generally, overtime is not counted as part of your income for child support unless your employer requires it.

Does this order allow me to have visitation with the child?
The local Child Support Enforcement Unit cannot help establish visitation, also known as parenting time. However, you may request that a court hearing be set to ask the court to grant parenting time. You may hire a private attorney to assist you. Forms for filing requests for visitation and decision-making are available from the Colorado Judicial Department website.

If I am receiving disability, does that count as income for child support purposes?
If you receive disability money based on your past employment, it is considered income for purposes of child support. For example, you worked for a government agency for 20 years before becoming disabled and the agency now pays you disability.

If the disability money you receive are means (based on income) tested public assistance, then they are not income for child support. One example is Supplement Security Income (SSI) received from the Social Security Administration. Note: Social Security Disability Income is income because it is based on a person's employment before becoming disabled.

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