Child Support Arrears in Colorado - Marrison Family Law

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Child Support Arrears in Colorado

Thursday, 01 October 2009

Explains the history of child support arrears in Colorado and what some of the statistics are. Also goes on to suggest methods of preventing arrears as well as corective action that can be taken.

Overview of Child Support Arrears in Colorado

Child support arrears fall into quite a different class from regular payments. In Colorado, this is a special problem compared to other states. Half of all arrears throughout the state of Colorado are child support arrears totaling over $500 million. To highlight the problem, the overwhelming majority of these arrears are not due to physical inability to pay such as incarceration. Neither is the amount dominated by interest. On the contrary, interest on the arrears accounts for less than 5%.

So why are child support arrears so frequent? Certainly one of the reasons has to do with the fact that the average income of a non-custodial parent is less than $1500. Moreover, over a third of all such parents have more than one order against their name. Taken with the fact that the average arrears is approximately $14,000, the situation becomes all too clear.

Preventing Child Support Arrears

Experts agree that the best way out of this quagmire is to prevent the arrears from accumulating in the first place. This is because once they do accumulate, collection is problematic and tedious. Taken individually each payment doesn't come to much. Taken as a whole, they can be crushing.

Social workers advise the application of the "Hot stove principle." In effect it means that every little transgression must be met with an immediate and effective response so that the other party learns that it's not in his or her interests to ever repeat it. It may sound harsh, but it's really the best outcome for all the three parties involved.

Money Judgments in Colorado

When deciding to take action on child support arrears, the judge can hand down a money judgment. The money judgment is a special type of judgment where ordinary methods for the recovery of debts are not allowed. Instead, there are a range of options available including tax refund interception and wage withholding. Another popular method of recovery is to force the non custodial parent's employer to charge him or her insurance for the child.

Other more strict measures include contempt of court measures, writs seeking recovery of liquid assets or even the denial of a passport. Also, a court can order the parent to seek employment if he or she is unable to pay due to unemployment despite having the ability to earn.


As one can see, there are many ways of recovering child support arrears in Colorado. Prevention however, is always better than cure and it's well to remember that all this unpleasantness can be avoided if the custodial parent takes remedial action in time.


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MPatMarrisonFor over a quarter century, we have helped people during what is often the darkest time in their lives. Divorce is not easy even under the best of circumstances. For most people, family is central. Having something go wrong in the family can have a ripple effect that extends beyond the home and into other areas.

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