Like couples everywhere, those in Colorado end their marriages for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the cause is money trouble, sometimes it is infidelity, and sometimes it is simple incompatibility. Regardless of the reason, divorce is typically hard on both spouses and even harder on any minor children.

Before most divorces are finalized, one parent is awarded child custody, and the other parent is limited to visitation rights and usually must provide financial child support. Child-support issues, particularly how support is calculated, can become a point of enduring conflict between divorcing parents.

To help judges make final determinations about how much child support should be paid, every state, including Colorado, has implemented standards and guidelines. These guidelines outline how much financial help a child needs to ensure they are fed, clothed and have other basic needs met. The Colorado Child Support Guidelines guide judges and attorneys in calculating such support with the goal of ensuring that the amount is reasonable and fair.

The basic amount of child support is calculated using both parents' monthly gross incomes and reliable information about how much time each parent spends with their children. If a noncustodial parent only grosses $900 to $1,900 per month, that parent may be entitled to a low-income adjustment in their support obligation.

Although the noncustodial parent's share of the child-support amount is established in the child-support order, both parties share child-care costs, health-care insurance costs and uninsured medical expenses. Once the child-support amount has been calculated, a court will automatically accept the amount, although either parent can appeal and try to show that the amount is not fair or reasonable. In most cases, a judge will hear arguments and then make a final determination that either accepts the original order or includes an adjustment.

Source: Colorado Department of Human Services, "Calculating Child Support Payments," Accessed on Feb. 16, 2015