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Colorado Child Support Guidelines

Colorado has child support laws to ensure every child has an adequate standard for financial and emotional support from both parents. The guidelines are intended for the children to receive the same amount of financial support as they would if they still lived with both parents.

Contrary to what some may think, even a joint legal custodian may pay support. While laws in some states still refer to the child support obligations of a noncustodial parent, it is rare for a court to deprive one parent entirely of custodial rights. On an exceedingly rare basis, courts assign sole legal or physical custody to one parent. In Colorado, for example, child support calculations take into account the amount of overnights each parent has with the child.

Parents are also allowed to create their own child support agreements. However, if these agreements stray too far from the state guidelines, they won't be approved by the court.

Continue reading for a quick summary of child support guidelines in Colorado.

Child Support Statutes in Colorado

The following table outlines Colorado's Child Support laws.

Code Section

COL. REV. STAT. § 14-10-115: Child Support Guidelines

Who Is Responsible?

Both parents are responsible.

When Child Support May Be Terminated

Under relevant parts of COL. REV. STAT. § 14-10-115, child support obligations terminate when the following occur:

  • If a minor child becomes emancipated
  • When a minor child reaches the age of 19, unless the child is mentally or physically disabled
  • While a child is still in high school or in a program that provides a diploma that is equivalent to what is obtained at the time of a graduation from a high school, while the obligation will not continue regardless of the child having a high school diploma beyond the child's 21st birthday
  • If the child marries, while child support may be restored if the marriage is annulled or results in a divorce
  • If the child enters into active military duty
By agreement, parents may decide to continue child support beyond when it would otherwise automatically end by law. Examples


Under COL. REV. STAT. § 14-10-115, the following are examples of what courts consider as relevant factors in their determinations of support amounts:

  • The financial resources of the child
  • The financial resources of the custodial parent
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved
  • The physical and emotional condition of the child and his or her educational needs
  • The financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent

What Is Included in a Support Order?

Included in support orders are child care expenses, health insurance coverage, medical expenses, educational expenses, and travel expenses.

How Long Must a Parent Pay Child Support?

For how long parents must pay child support, review the section of this chart titled "When Child Support May Be Terminated."

How to File For Child Support in Colorado

If you are seeking child support in Colorado, the Colorado Division of Child Support Services can be your resource for:

  • Establishing child/medical support orders and paternity
  • Modifying child/medical support orders
  • Enforcing child/medical support orders, including spousal maintenance when combined with child support
  • Processing payments through the Family Support Registry (FSR)
  • Collecting past due child support from the non-custodial parent's federal and state tax refunds and lottery winnings
  • Collecting past due child support from the non-custodial parent through other enforcement measures
  • Asking another state's child support agency to establish, modify, or enforce an order on your behalf.

You can also apply for child support services online and find additional forms on the DHS website.

Colorado Child Support Guidelines: Related Resources

Calculating amounts and navigating Colorado's child support guidelines can be confusing. If you would like legal assistance with a child support matter, you can contact a Colorado family law attorney. You can also visit FindLaw's sections on Child CustodyChild Support Modifications, and Child Support Enforcement for more articles and information on this topic.

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