Throughout the divorce process, many parents strive to shield their children from any divorce-related conflict. As the adults, you feel that it’s unfair to put your children in the middle of adult problems. This is sometimes difficult when it comes to receiving the court-ordered child support.
When one parent chooses not to pay or not maintain employment that enables them to pay, it hurts your children, not just you. The good news is that the state of Colorado is on your side when it comes to parents who are voluntarily underemployed to avoid their child support responsibilities.
Not working is no excuse
Just because your co-parent chooses not to work doesn’t mean that they don’t have to pay child support because there’s no income to calculate payments from. Colorado courts will factor in a parent's potential to earn income instead.
The only exceptions to this law are incarceration and their being physically or mentally unable to work. Otherwise, income sources like unemployment benefits, disability benefits, and settlements from an accident can factor into their gross income. There are only a few acceptable reasons for someone not to pay child support in the eyes of the law.
The court can act in your favor if your co-parent claims they cannot find enough work or work at all. An alternative method to help your child receive the support they’re entitled to is to order them to participate in work activities. These activities can include vocational training, job search activities or community service.
There are exceptions
A court will determine whether your co-parent’s unemployment or underemployment is in good faith. If their employment situation is determined to not intentionally keep their child from receiving support, due to completing a degree or certification to increase their earning power or their employment situation is only temporary.
Raising a child as a single parent is difficult and receiving monetary support from your co-parent can ease that strain. However, not all co-parents fully embrace their child support responsibilities. Colorado law supports you in your desire for your child to receive the support they are due.