Though every element of a divorce has the potential for challenge, it is always the issue of parenting time and child support that is the most heart-wrenching. All too often, divorcing parents get caught up in the calculations and the competition and forget about what is in the best interests of their children. At Teddi Ann Barry, P.C., we help our clients work within the parameters provided by Colorado law, with an eye to making sure that your needs are met and your children’s sense of each parent’s place within the family remains intact.
Calculating Child Support
The state of Colorado’s calculation of appropriate child support is based on two basic elements: how many overnights are spent with each parent through the course of a year, and the amount of each parent’s Gross Income. If the overnights with either parent come to less than 93 nights of the year, then the child support is calculated using the state’s Worksheet A. This is considered a Sole Custody Arrangement. If the number of overnights spent with both parents is more similar, and both parents have the children overnight for 93 nights per year or more, then the calculation uses the state’s Worksheet B. Once the determination of which worksheet is to be used has been made, each parent’s Gross Income needs to be plugged into the appropriate worksheet’s calculation. The parents also need to calculate what percentage of nights they each have with the children throughout the year.
Following these steps can provide you with a workable answer to what the court views as the child support that is owed. However, there are many other things to be taken into consideration before arriving at a final child support amount that is reflective of your children’s needs and each parent’s abilities and responsibilities. It is in these more nuanced areas that having an experienced and thoughtful attorney is most essential. The attorneys at Teddi Ann Barry, P.C. can help you negotiate complexities such as:
- Underemployment of either parent
- Irregular income such as awards, bonuses and overtime pay that should or should not be included as Gross Income
- Complex income streams such as those earned by the self-employed or high-wage earners
- Childcare costs specific to your circumstances, including travel costs, medical expenses, extracurricular activities, educational expenses, and more
Because so much of the calculation of child support rests on the question of how many overnights children spend with each parent, many people make the mistake of restructuring the way the family traditionally operated in order to receive more money, or avoid having to pay their former spouse more. This is often shortsighted, as when a parent ends up with more time than they are accustomed to having, they end up having to pay more for food, for childcare, and all the other expenses that go into raising children. They also cheat their children of time spent with the other parent.
At Teddi Ann Barry, P.C., we take a common-sense approach to all issues involving children, including those having to do with parenting time and child support. We work hard to negotiate mutually agreeable terms that resolve these issues in a way that eliminates competition and stresses collaboration between two adults who both care deeply about what is best for their children. It’s our goal to ensure that the parenting relationships are maintained, while ensuring that the financial needs of the parties are also met.