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YOU KNOW YOU NEED A LAYWER IF: your child support order is five years old
you know you need a lawyer if: your child support order is five years old

Child support in Colorado is determined by a formula.  It uses the parties’ incomes to calculate a base amount of support required for each parent and includes adjustments for health insurance, day care, and other agreed-upon expenses. The goal is for the parents to share the costs of raising the children in an equitable way.

Of course, the elements of the child support calculations are likely to change over time.  People get raises or change jobs, health insurance costs rise, and children age out of daycare.  When these changes occur, your child support should as well.

Most parenting plans include a requirement to exchange income information each year (such as W-2s or profit and loss statements).  However, many people ignore this requirement, and continue with their child support order as-is.  Because income is the main component in a child support calculation, you should take the opportunity to see your ex’s income to make sure you’re not overpaying.  The flip-side is that you’ll have to exchange your income as well.  Your ex will see that raise.  At least if you’re informed, you may only need to make a small change or none at all, rather than fear huge changes down the road.

Another good reason to look at your child support order is due to a change in expenses for the children.  Specifically, health insurance premiums for the children and daycare costs.  Both of these expenses are generally included on the child support worksheet.  If you are now covering the children on health insurance, you may need to adjust child support.  Or, if one or more children no longer need regular daycare, you may be over-paying.

I recommend reviewing your child support order every two years.  A simple review of the numbers can show you if you’re paying too much or receiving too little in support. With your lawyer’s expertise, adjusting child support can be quick and easy.  Even when this isn’t the case, you’ll be in a position to determine whether a motion to modify child support makes sense.

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