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Understanding the ins and outs of child support

For many Colorado parents, having to provide financial support for their children is not a source of contention. In certain cases, however, parents who are tasked with making child support payments begin to feel as though they are being taken advantage of, and that the money that is being paid is not being used as intended. The following points are offered to help ease child support tensions between parents.

Child support is defined as regularly occurring payments made by the noncustodial parent to assist in covering the costs of raising a shared child. The custodial parent has a great deal of freedom to use those payments as she or he sees fit. That is often where the source of contention lies, as it is easy for the parent who is making the payments to perceive that the money is not being properly allocated.

It is important to remember that the cost of raising a child is high, and that expenses are not always clear to see. For example, a child who is very active in academic, athletic and community activities will usually need to be transported far more frequently than one who is more of a homebody. The cost of that transportation, as well as the many fees associated with those activities, is part of what child support covers. Even a portion of the cost of having to eat out while on the road can factor in.

Colorado parents also tend to focus on the money that the recipient chooses to spend on him or herself, and feel that their child support is being misused for personal gain. In reality, however, when a noncustodial parent is making child support payments in a regular and timely manner, the custodial parent will enjoy a bit of financial security. Instead of having to stretch every dime to cover basic living expenses, the custodial parent may have a little bit of wiggle room for extras from time to time. That may be more of a rebalancing of financial responsibilities, rather than a misuse of child support.

Source:, "This Is What Child Support IS...And Is NOT", March 31, 2017

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