Child Support Order Modifications In Colorado
Every state has laws governing child support, which is where paying child maintenance can turn into a contentious issue. Just like marriage does not guarantee that couples are going to live happily ever after, a Colorado child support order does not guarantee that parents will make the required payments.
However, when non-custodial parents fail to meet their child maintenance payments, every state has rules established to force payment into compliance. A court can temporarily halt the obligation or can outright make the non-custodial parent go into default of the child maintenance payments; this can result in substantial fines and other penalties.
For example, what are some of the factors that the courts take into consideration when deciding whether or not to grant an extreme financial hardship modification? The courts take into consideration a couple’s earning capacity.
They look at the current situation and how the current situation will affect the ability of each parent to earn an income to support the child. If one of the parents is experiencing an extreme financial hardship, but can still pay child support, then the court may consider allowing the other parent to make a reduced payment so that they can still provide for the child.
Again, this will all depend on the state laws. Only you and your lawyer can tell the court which steps to take to allow for an extreme financial hardship.
Child Support Modification Factors
Factors that the courts take into consideration include the type of material change that occurred between the parents that caused the original child support order to become unreasonable. In other words, the original order said the child support was due in every month and the court ordered payments for several years.
Now, the custodial parent has lost his/her job and doesn’t have the same earning capacity the judge did. Will the court uphold the child support modification because of this? It’s best to ask your lawyer to decide this because if so, the court may allow for an extreme financial hardship to be the basis for modifying the terms of the child support order.
One of the most common ways parents try to modify child support orders is to allow for a material change to occur. For example, if the child had a special medical condition, the parent might want to allow for that condition to be treated. Or, if the custodial parent started a new job and can no longer pay for the child’s expenses, the parent might petition to have those costs considered when modifying child support payments. Again, only you and your attorney can tell the court whether or not this is appropriate, but it’s worth a shot.
Another way a parent tries to modify child support orders is to make them reflect their lifestyle changes. For example, if the custodial parent relocated to another city or state, the court might consider adding this factor to the child support order.
This can include things like vacation time taken away from the home, higher paying jobs in a new city, and so on. The court will look at the lifestyle changes and add them to the order to account for these circumstances.
Points To Consider Regarding Child Support Modifications
Before requesting a modification request, make sure the other parent knows about it. Many times, the other parent won’t find out about any modifications until the final modification hearing. Then, they’re surprised to learn that the order has been modified and the payments are now being drastically reduced.
In addition, make sure the modification request is filed properly so it can have an impact on the child support payments. If the other parent knows about the modification request, they might want to object or agree to the request.
A more common approach that Colorado family law attorneys take when working with parents who want to change a child custody or visitation order is to attempt to reduce the current level of support. Many family law attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only get paid if their client’s case is successful.
Because the fees associated with family law cases can be substantial, many legal professionals have learned to develop an attractive contingency fee schedule that involves an affordable flat fee, as well as a percentage of any post-judgment periodic payments (such as child support or spousal support).
While contingency fees can make a significant financial difference for some clients, especially those who don’t have a lot of assets put up for initial fees, they can also help reduce the overall cost of defending a client in court. If your case does not result in a full retainer, and if you’ve been paying too much for lawyer services, you may wish to consider trying a contingency fee plan to bring down the cost.
You may also be able to get a discount on child support if you belong to a union of another type. To verify this, simply contact the Human Resource Department of the court where your child custody or visitation arrangements are being decided. If you’re part of a CSA (Consolidated Specialized Employment Organization), you’ll need to discuss the possibility of lowering your obligation to pay child support with the custodial parent, and you’ll need to get a copy of your employee benefits agreement to go along with it.
Child Support Contempt Charges
In the state of Colorado, there is a clear-cut distinction between what can be called a civil contempt or criminal contempt charge. Civil contempt charges involve a discussion between a judge and the parties about a failure to obey a court order.
While criminal contempt involves the criminal behavior described above, they do not involve a direct conversation between a judge and a party. If you’re facing a Colorado contempt charge, you should seek counsel from an experienced Colorado Springs criminal defense attorney to learn your exact rights.
Punitive contempt is an additional avenue that Colorado family law attorneys may pursue if they believe that a parent is deliberately undermining a child maintenance order. While the idea of punitive contempt may seem extreme, it is a common strategy that family law attorneys use to attempt to get parents to follow their orders.
Simply put, punitive contempt refers to the parent that refuses to follow a court order by making threats or negative statements. In many cases, parents that are guilty of malicious contempt are sentenced to jail time.
If you’re being ordered to pay child support, corrective measures like incarceration could be ordered as a way to punish the delinquent parent. However, these are typically only used in the most extreme of cases.