If you have a child support order in Colorado, it is important to be aware of the recent changes to the state’s child support statute. This is the time of year when people receive their updated income information for filing their taxes such as their W2, K1, or other tax forms.
Under the updated law, you may have a mandatory obligation to disclose updated financial information to your ex-spouse annually, as part of a mandatory “annual exchange of information” to determine whether child support needs to be updated or modified. The annual exchange of information is a mandatory requirement in Colorado for parents with a child support order to exchange updated financial information on an annual basis. This information is used to calculate child support based on current and accurate financial data.
The annual exchange streamlines the process of updating child support and ensures that the child support amount is fair and reflective of the child’s needs. It is important to comply with this obligation, as failing to provide updated financial information could cause legal consequences.
I have a child support order. How do I know if I have to exchange information?
As a general rule, if you have a child support order, you have a duty to exchange information with the other parent if there has been a change that could affect the amount of child support.
Some examples of changes that could affect child support include:
- A change in income for either parent, such as a raise or a job loss
- A change in the child’s needs, such as increased medical expenses or educational expenses
- A change in the parenting schedule or custody arrangement
When there is a change that could affect child support, both parents have a duty to disclose to each other any information that could impact the amount of child support. Typically, the information that needs to be exchanged includes financial information, such as income and expenses, as well as information about the child’s needs and any changes to the parenting schedule or custody arrangement.
If you are unsure about whether you need to exchange information with the other parent, consult with an attorney or a family law facilitator in your area. They can help you understand your obligations and ensure that you are complying with your child support order and state law.
What kind of change could affect child support?
Child support is determined by a specific formula that considers various factors, including the income and expenses of both parents, such as health insurance and daycare costs. Additionally, the calculation takes into account the amount of time that the children spend with each parent.
If there is a change in circumstances that could affect the amount of child support, such as a parent receiving a raise, changing childcare providers, or losing health insurance coverage for the children, this information must be disclosed to the other parent. This is necessary to determine if a modification to the child support amount is necessary.
It is important to note that both parents have a legal obligation to disclose any changes that could affect child support. This means that it is more difficult for either parent to hide information from the other, especially in cases where an increase in income could lead to an increase in child support. By providing full and accurate information to the other parent, both parties can work together to ensure that the child support amount is fair and reflective of the child’s needs.
How often does information need to be exchanged?
The information needs to be exchanged once a year or less often. For example, if no change has occurred since the previous child support order, it does not trigger the mandatory annual exchange provision.
The statute does, however, provide the opportunity for the parent who does not exercise majority time with the children to request an annual update of financial information including information on the actual expenses incurred relating to the children from the other parent. This request is subject to court approval (i.e. not automatic) and will not be ordered if the requesting party has failed to exercise parenting time, when child support payments are in arrears, or when there is documented evidence of domestic violence, child abuse or violation of a protection order by the requesting party.
What are the benefits of exchanging information for child support annually?
Exchanging information each year for child support has several benefits for both parents and their children:
- Ensuring that child support is accurate and up to date: Exchanging information each year helps to ensure that child support is calculated based on accurate and current financial information, as well as any changes in the child’s needs or the parents’ circumstances. This helps to ensure that the child support amount is fair and reflective of the child’s needs.
- Reducing conflicts and misunderstandings: When both parents exchange information regularly, they are more likely to agree regarding the child’s needs and the financial responsibilities of each parent. This can help to reduce conflicts and misunderstandings, and promote a more positive co-parenting relationship.
- Helping to identify issues early: By exchanging information regularly, both parents can identify potential issues or problems early, before they become more serious. For example, if a parent experiences a significant change in income, they can address and factor this into child support calculations before it becomes a major issue.
Overall, exchanging information regularly for child support can help to ensure that both parents are providing for their child’s needs and contributing to their financial well-being, while also promoting a positive co-parenting relationship and reducing conflicts.
Can I still file a Motion to Modify Child Support?
Exchanging information between parents for child support purposes is important to ensure that child support is calculated fairly and accurately based on current and correct financial information. However, this does not affect a parent’s right to move to modify child support if there have been substantial and continuing changes that justify a modification.
If both parents cannot agree on a modification of child support, either parent can seek resolution through the courts. This may involve appearing before a judge, presenting evidence of the changes that justify the modification, and arguing for a new child support amount.
It is important to note that modifications to child support are not automatic and must be justified by substantial and continuing changes in circumstances. Additionally, filing a motion to modify child support can be a complex and time-consuming process, and it may be helpful to seek the help of an attorney or other legal professional to ensure that your rights are protected and that the process goes smoothly.
Do I need an attorney to exchange the information?
While it is not necessary to have an attorney to exchange the required information, it is important to seek the guidance of a qualified attorney to understand your rights and obligations under the revised child support statute. An attorney can help you navigate the process and ensure that your rights are protected.
By working with an experienced attorney, you can ensure that you understand your rights and obligations under the revised child support statute, and that you are able to navigate the child support system with confidence and peace of mind. Contacting an attorney is an important first step in protecting your rights and ensuring that your child’s needs are being met.
Eliza Steinberg’s practice is focused exclusively on family law related matters including divorce, allocation of parental rights, post-decree disputes, and child support matters. Eliza has presented on litigation case management techniques and is a co-author of the Colorado Bar Association’s Practitioner’s Guide to Domestic Relations Law chapter on trusts.