When you divorced, child support payments were set based upon your financial situation at the time. However, this year, you lost your job and have only been able to pick up work that pays less. It seems unreasonable to expect you to pay the same as when you were a high earner. Regardless of whether it is fair or not, you can no longer afford to pay the same amount.

You might think you can talk to your ex and agree verbally to reduce the amount of child support you pass them. However, the court set the figure, not you or your ex, and you are legally required to meet the payments the court stipulated until they permit you to pay less. Your request has to be approved by a judge.

There needs to be an “ongoing and substantial change in circumstances” to warrant modifying child support in Colorado. State law defines substantial as at least 10%. So, if you previously earned $100,000, you need to drop to $90,000 or less before you can request a modification.

Things are more straightforward if the other parent agrees. You can present an agreement to the court that says you both agree to a lower amount, which the judge then has to sign off. If the other parent disagrees, you need to file a motion with the court, which can end up costing you both more in legal fees as you argue your case. You could use that money for your child instead.

Seek legal help if you need to modify your child support payments. Remember, you must continue to make the current payment amount. Failing to do so could lead to even more problems.