Colorado Child Support Law: 2008 Changes To Colorado Divorce Laws

In 2007, Colorado divorce laws regarding child support were comprehensively restyled. Most changes simply reorganized the existing Colorado law of child support, largely renumbering nearly every provision. Collectively, we will call these changes “the new 2008 Colorado child support law revisions.”

The new 2008 Colorado child support law, however, substantively changes in two respects the calculation of Colorado child support (the presumed appropriate child support as calculated pursuant to the Colorado laws known as “the Colorado Child Support Guidelines”).

The new 2008 Colorado child support law also clarifies how health insurance adjustments are determined, when a spouse of a parent maintains coverage for the parent’s child or children.

2008 Colorado Child Support Law Revisions

1. Adjustment For Later-Born Child Now Allowed

Effective January 1, 2008, in any case where a parent has a child or children from another relationship — those born prior to or after the child or children whose support is at issue — a reduction is made to that parent’s adjusted gross income before calculating child support. Colorado child support law effects this adjustment to acknowledge the presumed share of costs the responsible parent shoulders in meeting the other child or children’s basic support needs such as food, clothing and housing costs. (This is sometimes called the “calculated other child” deduction or adjustment, and ordinarily applies only to children residing with the parent claiming the adjustment.)

Note: As detailed below, Colorado child support laws treat differently cases where there is a formal Colorado court order for a recurring payment of child support.

Earlier Colorado child support laws refused this adjustment for nonjoint later-born children. (This original approach of Colorado’s child support law refused to dilute a parent’s financial responsibility to existing children, because of that parent having further children.)

The Colorado legislature and the new 2008 Colorado child support laws saw the old law as unfair and arbitrary (many argued, even an unconstitutional denial of the equal protection of the laws) in providing differently for children’s needs, based on their birth order.

2. Income Adjustment Reduced (For Other Child Support Needs Share) — Not Court-Ordered

The new 2008 Colorado child support law, however, changes the amount of reduction allowed for the responsible parent of a nonjoint child or children (prior born, or not). The new 2008 child support statute limits the reduction in the responsible parent’s income to seventy five per cent (75%) of that parent’s statutorily defined share of the other child or children’s support needs. (This share is determined by the ordinary approach of the Colorado Child Support Guidelines.)

No Changes On Limitations Of Other Child Adjustment, And Treatment Of Formal Colorado Child Support Orders

The new 2008 Colorado child support law continues to disallow this calculated other child deduction or adjustment, in cases where it would fix child support — in a later child support order — at a level lower than a previously existing order. In effect, the law only allows this adjustment in original child support determinations, or defensively against modifications to increase child support.

The new 2008 Colorado child support law also continues to offset from a parent’s adjusted gross income, the full amount of a formal Colorado child support obligation (his or her monthly Court-ordered payment) to support other children.

Spouse’s Health Insurance Qualifies As Though Paid By Parent (On Colorado Child Support Worksheet)

Finally, the new 2008 Colorado child support law grants an adjustment on the child support worksheet to a parent whose spouse provides health insurance (medical and/or dental) covering and including the child or children whose support is at issue. The law clarifies that the health insurance payment by the spouse shall be treated just as though made by the parent.

The New Colorado Divorce Law’s Impact On Divorce And Child Support Modification Planning

The new 2008 Colorado child support law revisions can sometimes materially affect calculation of appropriate child support. As with all changes to Colorado divorce laws, the new 2008 Colorado child support law revisions emphasize the great importance of accessing the latest and updated Colorado divorce forms. Most online Colorado child support “calculators” are flawed estimations and do not reflect the latest changes in Colorado divorce laws respecting child support, such as these new 2008 Colorado child support law revisions.

Our website’s Colorado divorce forms and tools resources reflect the latest version of the critical Colorado Child Support worksheets required by most couples reviewing these issues, at the time of their legal separation or parentage case (or of modification of earlier Colorado child support or child custody orders).

Additionally, we continually update our professional-versioned software tools used in your work with us in mediation.

Mediation generally remains the most efficient and affordable way to consider the impact of changes to Colorado’s divorce laws on child support. As with any other divorce, child custody and family law disputes, mediation allows couples to collaboratively consider, with an expanded range of options and choices, these changes to Colorado’s child support and divorce laws.

(See also our website’s section on Why Choose Mediation? for other compelling reasons to consider mediation of your divorce case, or parenting dispute.)

To learn more about our mediators’ collective and individual backgrounds, and to find out if Colorado Center for Divorce Mediation might be an appropriate choice for you and your family — consider the Why Choose Us, and Meet Our Mediators sections of our website. (These include Larry and Chris’ individual Colorado mediator profiles.)

Also consider our website’s acclaimed Frequently Asked Questions and Myths resources, where we answer other questions, and debunk commonly held misunderstandings − regarding Colorado divorce laws, court procedures and alternative dispute resolution alternatives, such as family mediation.