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COLORADO MAINTENANCE AND CHILD SUPPORT

Colorado law provides formulas to help determine the appropriate amounts of maintenance and/or child support.

MAINTENANCE

In Colorado, maintenance (also known as alimony in other states) is based on a number of financial factors in the case. In order to assist in the determination of the appropriate amount, the statute has a formula based on the gross (non-taxed) income of the parties.  The resulting amount is not mandatory, but is followed in many cases.

The formula amount of maintenance varies depending on whether the maintenance is non-taxable or taxable.  For all new non-taxable maintenance amounts set after 2018, the formula sets a different amount than modified taxable maintenance amounts set prior to 2019.

The statutory maintenance formula applies to combined monthly incomes up to $20,000 per month.  If the combined monthly income is more than $20,000 per month, the Colorado law does not provide any formula amount for maintenance. In that case, the amount is based on a determination of an appropriate amount based on the factors of the case. Family Law Software has after-tax cash flow calculators useful for the analysis of the appropriate amount of maintenance.

CHILD SUPPORT

The Colorado child support guideline formula is based on the combined gross income of the parents and specifies an amount of support depending upon the number of children and the number of overnights that each parent spends with each individual child.

Maintenance paid by one parent to the other parent is a deduction from the gross income of the payor and an addition to the gross income of the child support recipient (the amount of the maintenance adjustment varies depending on whether the maintenance is taxable or not).  Other adjustments to the parties’ gross incomes are maintenance payments to or from a former spouse, child support payments for other children, and in some cases a reduction of gross income for other children that one of the parties is legally responsible for but not paying court ordered child support.

Once all adjustments have been made to the gross income, the number of overnights that each parent has with each individual child will determine the total child support obligation from the chart of child support amounts provided in the law.   If the parent paying the child support has overnights under 92 per year, Family Law Software creates a Worksheet A to show the amount of child support.    If the paying parent has overnights more than 92 per year, then a Worksheet B is created adjusting the basic child support amount to account for the number of overnights.

The basic child support amount then can be further adjusted by such factors as child care costs, medical insurance premiums and unreimbursed medical expenses.

Under the Colorado law the resulting child support amount is the presumptive amount.  If the parties’ combined gross income exceeds $30,000 per month, the formula child support amount is the highest number on the chart. 

DEVIATION FROM THE SUPPORT FORMULAS

The parties can agree to a different amount of child support and/or maintenance or the judge can enter an order for a different amount. Family Law Software has a variety of helpful calculators to use to look at how much each person has to spend per month after tax in order to decide whether or not the guideline amounts are appropriate or a deviated amount would better fit the facts and circumstances of the case.

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