A child support order is issued in response to the circumstances at the time of the order. Of course, the fact that a child support order is issued does not mean that nothing will ever change. Life carries on, circumstances change.
In Colorado, parties cannot agree to make child support non-modifiable. To modify a child support order there has to be a "substantial and continuing" change in circumstances. This means there would be at least a 10% difference in the existing child support order. Some examples of "substantial and continuing" changes are:
- A parent has lost his or her job;
- A parent has increased his or her income substantially;
- The child has special needs that must be paid for;
- A change in child custody and visitation;
- Reduced day care costs as the child gets older;
- Fewer supported children when one child emancipates.
A judge will ordinarily modify child support retroactive to the date the motion to modify child support was filed, unless a court finds that it would cause undue hardship or substantial injustice, or there has been a mutually-agreed change in physical custody.
If your circumstances have changed, it is important for you to file a motion to modify child support with the court. Especially if your income was reduced because if you fall behind your payments, you will still be held accountable for paying child support based on the existing order.