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Child support: Guidelines, considerations and challenges

In the realm of family law, judicial guidelines are commonplace. Judges deciding matters relating to spousal maintenance, custody, child support and other matters are often tasked to consider a number of factors that derive from statutory law or earlier case decisions.

In Colorado, and commonly throughout the country, guideline factors -- formulas -- are at the core of many judicial decisions concerning children. When weighing in on child support, for example, a judge will scrutinize a number of different things. Those include the following:

  • Whether one or both parents have jobs, and the income received from work
  • The number of children that need to receive support
  • The customary expenses incurred by the children for medical care, school, sports and other activities
  • Whether alimony is being received

No single factor is commonly dispositive, and courts have ample discretion in deciding support matters. Given that every case has unique elements, a family law attorney with experience in child support matters -- both in helping to collect support and in ensuring that the amount is fair -- can be a key resource in promoting an optimal outcome for a client.

Although states have differing laws and rules for enforcing support, there are a number of close similarities operative across the county, as well as common concerns and complaints. A recent story appearing in the Chicago Tribune that takes an in-depth look at support issues is widely instructive for its discussion of what it terms "challenges" in the system.

Some of those challenges are on ready display in cases across the country, including in Colorado. They include issues such as the following: difficulty in enforcing court orders owing to a number of factors, including a non-payer's relocation to another jurisdiction; authorities' seeming unwillingness to pursue a non-paying party because of a lack of resources, including money; and alleged changed circumstances that arguably create the need for a revised support order.

As stated, support considerations can be both multiple and complex. A proven child support attorney can answer questions and provide knowledgeable assistance in any support-related matter.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Child support challenges in Illinois," Lisa Black, Oct. 25, 2013

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