Enforcement of Child Support in Colorado
Individuals that have been awarded child support often have concerns over whether the other party will consistently make child support payments and what they can do if those payments stop.
Child support is an order of the Court. When a Court order is not followed, the Court has broad powers to enforce that order. Given the circumstances of your case there are a number of options to assure that child support is paid in accordance with the Court order.
In some cases, a wage assignment can be made at the time your divorce or allocation of parental responsibilities becomes final. If a wage assignment is part of the Court’s Support Order, a Notice to Withhold Income for Support is sent to the employer of the party owing child support and the funds will come directly out of their paycheck to the party receiving child support.
Another option at the time of divorce is to participate in the Family Support Registry. This can be done through agreement of the parties or through an order of the Court. The purpose of the Family Support Registry is to monitor child support payments. The party paying child support sends their payments to the Family Support Registry. The Registry then records the payment and sends the child support payment amount to the party receiving child support. If there is a problem with payment down the line, the Family Support Registry will report out on the payment history. This record will be taken as evidence by the court and presumed to be accurate.
Options for Colorado Enforcement of Child Support
If child support payments are not paid in accordance with the Court order then there are a number of options. Which option is best for you depends on the circumstances of your case:
- Child Support Enforcement: You have the option to use Child Support Enforcement in the county where your Support Order was entered to recover child support. Child Support Enforcement has a number of tools at their disposal to recover child support funds from the delinquent party. If you use Child Support Enforcement you will NOT be able to receive interest payments on delinquent funds.
- Support Judgment: You may file a Verified Entry of Support with the Court to show that the party paying child support has not complied with the Support Order. The Court will then file a Support Judgment that gives you the power to garnish the opposing party’s wages and/or bank accounts. The Support Order can also include interest on the delinquent funds owed as well as attorney’s fees for having to enforce the Order.
- Contempt of Court: Another option is to bring a Motion for Contempt. The Court will set up a Contempt Hearing where it is expected that both parties will be present. At the Hearing, the Court will take evidence on payment or non-payment of child support. The Court can also ask questions to discover what financial resources are available for payments. The Court also has the power to garnish accounts or wages and may impose punitive damages including jail time for non-payment of child support. The Court can award interest on delinquent payments as well as attorney’s fees. Attorney’s fees are only awarded if no punitive sanctions are imposed. A Contempt Hearing is a quasi-criminal proceeding.
If you would like to ask one of our attorneys a question about enforcement of Colorado child support or skip that step and come in for a consultation, we encourage you to do so sooner rather than later. The longer you wait to speak to a Colorado family law attorney the higher your chances are of inadvertently giving up your legal rights.