Though you filed for divorce in a Colorado court, it in no way means you were trying to abdicate your parental obligations. Like all good parents, your children’s best interests were no doubt a main priority when you began making plans for a new future. When the discussion turned to child support, you were not only willing, but you also wanted to make sure your children would have everything they need as they come to terms with your divorce and adapt to a new lifestyle.
When a Colorado family court judge issues a child support or custody order, both parents must fully adhere to the terms. What are you to do then if life throws a curve ball your way and you’re not able to keep up with payments? The most important thing to remember in such circumstances is what it is not okay to do. It is definitely not okay to stop making payments without the court’s permission.
You must file a petition
The court recognizes that parents may encounter financial challenges for various reasons. The court might consider a particular reason a legitimate cause for modifying a child support order. Then again, a judge overseeing a particular case can deny a modification request as well. To activate the process, a parent seeking modification must file a petition to formally request it.
You must also show legitimate cause
If you and your ex are always at odds with each other, it does not mean you can take revenge by stopping court-ordered financial supplements meant to provide for your children. Factors the court might consider just cause for seeking modification, however, typically include issues such as an unexpected reduction of income or a remarriage that brings step-children into your home for whom you will be financially providing.
By showing evidence that the custodial parent has enjoyed a substantial increase of income, it may also convince the judge reviewing your case to reduce your current payment amount.
Contempt of court
If you simply stop making payments as an existing court order demands, you can wind up in serious legal trouble, including being held in contempt of court. On the other hand, if you are a custodial parent who wishes the court to intervene because your ex is delinquent in child support payments, you can take legal steps to resolve the problem.
State laws, children’s best interests and more
As your kids get older, their financial needs might increase. For instance, a toddler is not likely to have as many expenses as a senior in high school. Every state has its own child support guidelines, which is why it is so important for you to seek clarification before proceedings begin. You and your ex are hopefully like-minded when it comes to working as a team to provide for your children’s needs.
You can take comfort in knowing that, if a particular legal obstacle arises, you need not try to handle it on your own.