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How is Child Support Calculated in a High-Net-Worth Divorce?

Child support in high-net-worth divorces can be difficult to calculate. It can also cause a lot of tension and disagreement between parents 

Colorado courts typically follow statutory guidelines when determining parents’ monthly child support obligations. However, the courts have the obligation to perform a further analysis relating to the financial circumstances of the parents and the needs of the child when parents earn a combined monthly income over $30,000.

The following is a brief outline of Colorado’s child support guidelines, and how these guidelines apply to a high-net-worth divorce. If you have specific questions about high-net-worth divorce or child support in Colorado, contact an experienced Denver family law attorney.

Colorado’s Child Support Guidelines

Colorado has statutory guidelines for courts to follow when calculating parents’ monthly child support obligations. These may be found in Colorado Revised Statute Section 14-10-115. 

Colorado’s guidelines determine a basic monthly obligation based largely on the gross incomes of the parents and the number of children involved. From there, each parent’s share is determined in proportion to their individual income and sometimes also the amount of time the child spends in each parent’s home.

Once the basic obligation is calculated, work-related childcare costs, health insurance expenses, extraordinary medical care, and other adjustments are made. The parent paying these expenses receives a credit against their monthly support obligation.

Colorado’s statutory guidelines max out at a combined parental gross income of $30,000 per month. When the combined parental income is higher the court may set the basic child support obligation as if parental income were exactly $30,000 per month or may determine that a higher amount is appropriate. 

When parent income exceeds the upper level of the guidelines the court generally uses the $30,000 per month basic obligation as a starting to consider whether the order should be higher. The court typically may not set the basic child support amount below the figure that would apply at $30,000 level. 

Calculating a High-Net-Worth Child Support Obligation

Parents in a high-net-worth divorce may choose to create their own child support plan and monthly obligation. If the parents cannot agree, the court will calculate an obligation on their behalf. Any parent-created plan must be approved by the court.

To meet court approval, work with a skilled Denver child support lawyer to create a plan which meets Colorado’s support guidelines, or carefully define why it deviates from those guidelines, and be in the best interests of the child or children. In determining a child’s best interests the court may look to the following and more:

  • The child’s current standard of living;
  • The financial resources of each parent;
  • The child’s physical, emotional, and mental health needs; and
  • Whether the child has special medical or education requirements.

The court may also consider what some might consider non-necessities such as private schooling and extracurricular activities if those have been part of the child’s customary lifestyle up to that point.  However, child support is not intended to represent a method of wealth transfer between the parents. Accordingly, any child support figure should bear a rational relationship to the actual needs of the child.  

Contact an Experienced Denver High-Net-Worth Divorce Attorney Today

Discuss your high-income child support situation with a skilled professional at Hogan Omidi, PC, today. Our team of Denver high net worth divorce attorneys are experienced negotiators and litigators. We work tirelessly to resolve your high-income divorce issues in the most effective way possible. 

Hogan Omidi, PC, is proud to be the law firm that wrote the book on family law in Colorado. Partner, Kathleen Hogan, is the author of the Colorado Family Law Practice Series. This is a frequently referenced legal guide used by attorneys, judges, and others in the legal field across Colorado.

Call Hogan Omidi, PC, in our Denver office today to learn more about our firm, and how we can help you with your divorce. You can schedule your appointment at (303) 691-9600 or contact us online.