Comprehensive & Compassionate Legal Representation

Experienced lawyers providing services in many types of cases that can affect Colorado families.

How do you calculate child support in Colorado?

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2020 | child support |

The amount of child support you will have to pay is not random or based on subjective factors. The Colorado Child Support Guidelines state that children’s support should be as comprehensive and consistent as possible.

So, when the court calculates the amount of child support parents pay, it does so based on the Income Shares Model.

Research behind the Income Shares Model

Researchers developed the ISM using estimates from studies that indicate how much the average intact household spends supporting children. Studies also show how the household income levels and the number of children and how old they are affect how much parents will spend per child. For example, you may have to spend more to meet a teenager’s needs than you would to meet the needs of an infant.

Calculation factors

How much is your share of the child support? The Colorado Child Support Guidelines determine this based on your income and the other parent’s income, and how much of your income you would have spent on the children in the intact household. The calculation includes a schedule listing basic child support obligations. Custody matters such as how many overnights your children spend with you during the year also affect the amount.


Income is not necessarily just the amount of earnings from your job. It could be your actual gross earnings, but it could also be your potential earnings if you currently do not have a job or you are not earning your full capacity due to underemployment. Income could also be tips, commissions, self-employment earnings, retirement benefits, trust income and more.

Some sources of income you do not have to include are benefits from public assistance based on low income, child support payments you receive, Social Security benefits that your child receives and money from extra jobs that are in addition to your full-time job.

You will have to provide documentation of at least three months’ worth of income as well as copies of your most recent income tax return.