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Child Support Termination

In Colorado, a divorce decree with children or paternity judgment may include a Child Support Order ("CSO") that will direct one parent to pay a sum of money to the other parent. The CSO will state when, how often, and how much a parent is required to pay. This blog will discuss the ways in which a CSO can terminate with and without a Court Order and potential roadblocks with the process.

How Can a CSO Be Terminated?

A CSO can be terminated by the Court or automatically upon the nineteenth birthday of the last or only child. It cannot be terminated by an agreement between the Parties.

How Do I Request to Terminate a CSO?

Either Parent can file a Motion to Terminate Child Support, which could result in a Court order ending the support obligation. The CSO will remain in place until the Court issues an order terminating support.

When Will My CSO End Without A Motion?

Generally, in Colorado, a CSO will terminate without the need to file a motion to terminate support, upon the last or only child reaching the age of 19.

Could the CSO Extend Past When My Child Turns 19?

In some situations, the CSO will continue past the age of 19, for example:

1. The child is mentally or physically disabled; or,

2. The child is in high school in which case support continues until the end of the month following graduation.

Could the CSO End Earlier Than When My Last or Only Child Turns 19?

In certain circumstances, child support will terminate before a child reaches the age of 19, for example:

1. The child marries before age of 19;

2. The child dies; or

3. The child enters active military duty before turning 19.

What About if I Have Multiple Children?

If there are multiple children subject to the CSO, one of the children turning 19 will not automatically modify the current CSO.

For example, if there is a support order for Bob to pay child support for his three (3) children, Annie (19) Jonathan (14) and Cristian (12), the fact that Annie is 19 will not automatically lead to a deduction in child support. In fact, Bob will be under an obligation to pay child support for all (3) children until he files a motion to modify child support. Bob will be required to file a motion to modify child support based on a child turning 19 and there being fewer children subject to the support order.

Further, in some situations, a wage assignment might be automatically deducting the monthly child support from the obligor's paycheck. It can be difficult to stop or change the wage assignment to coincide with a child turning 19. Therefore, it is important to timely file a Motion to Modify Child Support to preserve the issue of over-payment of child support subject to a wage assignment.

What if I Have a Deal with My Ex-Spouse To Reduce Support When One Child Turns 19?

Using the example above, even if Bob were to work out a deal with his ex-wife to pay less support without involving the courts, he is still responsible for the full amount of court ordered child support until a new CSO is entered by the Court.

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Brandon Ceglian

Brandon Ceglian's practice focus is family law, landlord-tenant law / real estate, civil litigation, criminal / DUI, and collections. View Attorney Profile

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Adam Beckman’s areas of focus are family law, adoptions and prenuptial agreements, and criminal law/DUI. View Attorney Profile

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