The wrong amount of child support can leave you without enough money to support yourself or your family. So, it’s best to understand at least the basics of a child support calculation. Child support is calculated from three main factors: Income, overnights, and expenses. Calculating each of these factors can be extremely simple, or overwhelmingly complicated, depending on your situation. Here are some fundamentals to remember for the three main factors that go into a child support calculation:
- Income – child support in Colorado is based on an “income shares model,” which means that the Court calculates child support based on how you and the other parent share your combined income. If you make more money than your child’s other parent, then your share of the combined income is higher. Your share of the income also determines your share of payment for things like uninsured medical expenses and extracurricular expenses. If you earn 70% of the income, you will be paying 70% of the bill for these additional expenses.
- Overnights – the amount of time that you spend with your child greatly affects the amount of child support that you pay. The time you spend with your child is measured in overnights. If you exercise equal parenting time, then one parent will have 182 overnights, and the other 183, to equal 365 overnights in a year.
- Expenses – expenses such as health insurance premiums, day care expenses, travel expenses and other extraordinary expenses can be taken into account in a child support calculation. However, you’ll have to find a way to accurately calculate how much per month you spend on these expenses, and then provide the proof of payment. If you have a significant monthly expense, like day care expenses, it can drastically change the amount of child support that you pay or receive.
Whether you’re modifying child support, or calculating it for the first time, it’s important to be accurate with your income, overnights and expenses. Take the time to gather the documents that you need to get accurate figures (pay stubs, calendars, receipts, invoices, etc.), and know when to talk to an attorney. Contact me for a free consultation to learn more about whether or not you are paying or receiving a fair amount of child support.