What YOU Need to know about
Colorado Child Support Laws

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The Colorado Child Support Enforcement system is set up so that all children receive medical and financial support from both parents. This is accomplished by locating each parent, establishing the correct paternity and support obligations, and then enforcing those obligations.

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If you need to establish paternity, a child support order, or to enforce an existing order, please abide by the following information below.

  1. The first thing to do is contact the county child support enforcement office nearest to you. This is for requirements to start a case.
  2. The CSE offices require an application to start a case. Fill out the form and follow the instructions provided by the CSE office or by the website after answering the questions and printing the form. There will also be a one-time $20 application fee. If you receive public assistance you will be referred to a CSE office and will not be required to pay an application fee. Various Counties may waive the application fee if you are receiving certain forms of public assistance. They may also waive the fee if you are experiencing a financial hardship. Please contact your local county office for additional details.
  3. If you live in another state, contact the nearest CSE office in that particular state and fill out their application. The other state will establish and enforce an order. If they need to involve a Colorado CSE office or Colorado child support lawyers they will notify them directly.

Establishing Paternity

The term paternity means fatherhood. When the parents are not married, it is critical that the correct paternity is legally established. Otherwise, the child in question has no legal father. To establish paternity a judge or other official may enter a court order or the local county Colorado child support enforcement unit may establish paternity without going to court. Also, an Acknowledgment of Paternity can be signed by both parents at the hospital when the child is born or anytime thereafter.

Some very important reasons to establish the correct paternity:

  • Identity - All children have the right to know their mother and father
  • Money - The father may be required to pay child support if paternity has been legally established
  • Medical - It may be possible to obtain certain types of health insurance coverage for the child through the father's employer.
  • Survivor's Benefits - If the father is disabled or dies, his child might qualify for a certain kinds of benefits like Social Security, inheritance, veteran's benefits and life insurance

Either parent can request a paternity test anytime before the child reaches the age of 18 and in certain circumstances up to age 21. Paternity may be established even if the father in question lives in another state.

Establishing Support

After paternity is established and the noncustodial parent is located, the local county CSE unit works with both parents to establish a child support order, if there is not one established. If the child is in a foster care home, a fee may be charged to the mother, the father, or either parent. Establishing a child support order is a legal process that results in an order that sets a monthly amount of money to be paid by the noncustodial parent. This is for the support of the child or by both parents if the child is in a foster care unit.

A parent must be given a proper legal notice before a child support order and paternity can be determined. If a parent does not respond within the required time period, an order for support can be entered. This is called a default order. It’s legally valid and enforceable.

The child support or parental fee order is based on Colorado child support guidelines. These guidelines consider factors such as the needs of the children and the finances of both parents. These guidelines can be viewed through the Colorado Judicial Department website.

Establishing Health Insurance Coverage

Kids of parents that are divorced never married or separated families face a greater risk than other children of not having some form of health insurance coverage. The Colorado courts and Colorado Child Support Enforcement Program now require that health insurance coverage be provided for children when establishing the original child support order. The local county CSE Unit will always list the mother, the father, or either parent in the support order as the person who is to provide health coverage. Medicaid is considered public assistance and is secondary to private health coverage plans. If the children are on Medicaid, the parent ordered to supply health coverage is still held responsible to provide other health coverage.

Calculating Child Support Payments

The Colorado Child Support Guidelines make sure that a fair share of each parent's income and resources are given to the child. A basic support obligation is determined using the monthly gross incomes of both parents and other family conditions. Both parents share the basic support obligation based upon their gross incomes. The noncustodial parent's share of the obligation establishes the amount of the child support order.

The amount of child support a parent pays can also be determined by the amount of parenting time or visitation he or she has with the child. The parents also will share the costs for childcare, medical insurance and uninsured medical costs. The child support amount calculated using the guidelines is accepted as appropriate unless either parent shows a reason for a change. If the noncustodial parent's monthly gross income is between $850 and $1,850 they might be eligible for a low-income adjustment to the amount of child support paid.

Closing a Case

Colorado child Support Enforcement will close a case:

  • After an support obligation ends and the noncustodial parent has paid in full all support and arrears, or
  • After making all possible and reasonable attempts to establish or enforce an order with no success, or
  • After trying but not being able to locate the noncustodial parent or the custodial party, or
  • If closure is requested by the party who applied for services

The county CSE Unit may send a letter to you 60 days before closing the case. Even if a case is closed, it does not always mean that the noncustodial parent's legal duty to pay support will end. If new information about a case is received, the case may be reopened.

Special Note:

Beginning October 1, 2007, new federal and state laws require all states to collect an annual $25 fee for cases that meet the following conditions:

  1. The custodial party has never received cash public assistance (AFDC or TANF) from Colorado or any other state. TANF or AFDC cash assistance does NOT include Food Stamps, WIC, child care, Medicaid, and/or Kid Care
  2. The custodial party has received at least $500 in child support payments during the current federal year. The federal year starts on October 1 and continues until September 30 if the following calendar year.
  3. If you have ever received TANF or AFDC cash assistance from Colorado or any other state, please contact the State Office of Colorado Child Support.

Contact Information:

Colorado child Support Enforcement – County Offices (Units) The primary contact for dealing with your own child support case is your local county Child Support Enforcement Unit. If you do not have that contact information, use the County Unit Lookup that is available on this web site.

Colorado Family Support Registry: (FSR)

Payment Location:
Family Support Registry
P.O. Box 2171
Denver, CO 80201-2171

Overnight Express payments can be sent to:

Family Support Registry
PMB 262
1550 Larimer Street
Denver, CO 80202-1610

FSR Customer Service Department:

Metro Denver: 303-299-9123
Nationwide: 1-800-374-6558
E-mail: fsrcustomerservice@state.co.us
Hours: 8 am – 6 pm, Mountain Time

FSR Employer Outreach Department:

Metro Denver: 303-297-2849
Nationwide: 1-800-696-1468
E-mail: cse.employer.outreach@state.co.us
Hours: 8 am – 5 pm, Mountain Time

State Directory of New Hires – New Hire Reporting:

P.O. Box 2920
Denver CO 80201-2920
Fax: 303-297-2595
Website: Colorado State Directory of New Hires

Colorado Child Support Enforcement – State Office:
1575 Sherman Street, 5th floor
Denver CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-4300
Fax: 303-866-4360

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