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 has been reduced. If you fall behind your payments, you will still be held accountable for paying child support based on the existing order.