Colorado’s child support guidelines help judges calculate a fair payment when parents divorce. This chart provides a starting point based on the income of both parents and the number of minor children involved.
If you and your spouse plan to separate, review the state guidelines about child support so you understand what to expect when you negotiate a divorce agreement.
Calculating child support
The child support guidelines rely on the income shares method. You can estimate the child support you will pay or receive by adding the gross income of you and your spouse. The guidelines provide a monthly support amount based on that income and the number of children you have together. Generally, the judge will divide this support amount proportionally between parents depending on each person’s percentage of total gross income.
Adjusting for custody
Colorado’s guidelines assume that children live primarily with one parent while the other parent has regular visitation. However, if you plan to share custody with your spouse more evenly, you can ask the judge to adjust the designated amount based on the number of overnights your children spend with each of you. Generally, Colorado considers parents to have “shared physical care” when children spend at least 92 overnights annually with each of you.
Families that have significant income may need to negotiate an independent child support agreement outside of the guidelines. You may also want to address support for special medical or educational needs. In this case, the judge would review the agreement to make sure it serves the best interests of your children and treats you and your spouse fairly.