April 12, 2022
When a child is born, the law goes to significant lengths in order to preserve its right to be financially supported by both of its parents. Of course, there are instances in which some parents are not held to such standards, but these instances are rare. For example, if a parent surrenders his or her legal rights to a child, that parent may not be required to pay child support. Or if a parent is imprisoned for an extreme amount of time and he or she is not granted an opportunity to earn any income with which to support an affected child, an exception may be made. The same kind of exception may apply to terminally ill or severely injured parents who can no longer earn a living.
Parents are generally only excluded from their duty to support their children under extreme circumstances. If a parent’s living situation does not meet this extraordinary threshold, he or she must generally provide financial support for his or her children regardless of marital status, education level, or temporary hardships. And while both married and unmarried couples who share biological or adopted children are not generally required to pay formal child support payments to each other as long as they live under the same roof, both unmarried and married couples who are no longer together will generally be required to abide by a legal child support order.
If you have questions about whether your child is entitled to support or you are required to pay for support, please do not hesitate to reach out to a family lawyer Colorado residents trust. The experienced Colorado family law firm of Zweig Law, PC would be happy to advise you of your legal options and obligations after learning about the specifics of your situation. It is, after all, better to be safe than sorry when it comes to potential legal mandates.
Who Must Pay Support?
It does not generally matter if you are divorced, legally separated, or have never been married – if you have a biological or adopted child and you are no longer romantically involved with that child’s other parent, you are likely either entitled to receive a child support or are required to pay child support. Most judges will award child support to the parent who houses the shared child more than 50 percent of the time. However, if one parent makes substantially more money than the other, support will be awarded in such a way that the child has the best chance of having a relatively equalized living situation in each household.
The specifics of how child support is awarded (to whom, how much, for how long) varies depending on the circumstance. Judges often calculate awards within certain limits as set by law. But judges are also often given latitude to make exceptions when appropriate. It is also worth noting that child support awards may be modified by the court if a parent or child’s needs or circumstances change significantly. You can ask our Colorado family law firm whether a modification makes sense in your situation if you’re already paying or receiving child support.