Child Support for Special Needs Children in Colorado

Child support is a crucial aspect of ensuring the well-being of children after a divorce or separation. In Colorado, as in many other states, child support guidelines exist to provide financial support for children’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, and education.

However, determining child support for special needs children adds a layer of complexity to the process. This blog will delve into the unique challenges and considerations when determining child support for children with special needs in Colorado.

Understanding Child Support Basics in Colorado

Child support is typically calculated based on various factors, including the parents’ incomes, the number of children, and the amount of time each parent spends with the children. The goal is to ensure that the children receive financial support that is proportionate to their parents’ resources.

Unique Challenges for Special Needs Children

Special needs children often require additional financial support due to their unique needs, which can include medical expenses, therapy, educational support, and adaptive equipment. These extra costs can strain the resources of the custodial parent and make it challenging to provide the necessary care for the child. As a result, child support calculations for special needs children must take these additional expenses into account.

Determining Child Support for Special Needs Children

Medical Expenses

Special needs children often require ongoing medical care, including doctor’s visits, medication, and therapy sessions. In Colorado, both parents may be required to contribute to the child’s medical expenses, including health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. These expenses are typically factored into the child support calculation.

Educational Support

Many special needs children require specialized education and support services. These services can be costly and may include tutors, special education programs, or even placement in a specialized school. The cost of educational support should also be considered when determining child support.

Determining Child Support for Special Needs Children

Therapy and Rehabilitation

Therapy and rehabilitation services, such as speech therapy, physical therapy, or occupational therapy, are often necessary for special needs children to reach their full potential. These expenses should be included in the child support calculation to ensure that the child receives the care they need.

Adaptive Equipment

Special needs children may require adaptive equipment, such as wheelchairs, communication devices, or sensory aids. The cost of purchasing and maintaining these devices can be substantial and should be factored into the child support calculation.

Extraordinary Expenses

Colorado child support guidelines allow for the consideration of “extraordinary expenses” when determining child support for special needs children. These expenses may include costs related to the child’s disability that exceed the ordinary expenses of raising a child. Courts may allocate these extraordinary expenses between the parents based on their ability to pay.

Modifying Child Support Orders

Child support orders are not set in stone and can be modified if circumstances change. This is especially important for special needs children, as their needs may evolve over time. Either parent can request a modification if they can demonstrate a substantial and continuing change in circumstances, such as a significant change in income or the child’s needs.

The Role of Parenting Time

In Colorado, the amount of time each parent spends with the child plays a role in determining child support. For special needs children, it’s essential to consider the caregiving responsibilities and expenses associated with the child’s disability. The parent who provides the primary care for the special needs child may incur additional costs and responsibilities that should be reflected in the child support calculation.

Collaborative Decision-Making

Determining child support for special needs children is often more complex than for typical cases. To address these complexities, parents are encouraged to work together and consider the child’s best interests. Collaborative decision-making can lead to more tailored and effective support arrangements for the child’s unique needs.

Colorado Springs Child Support Lawyers

Child Support Laws in Colorado

Child support for special needs children in Colorado requires careful consideration of their unique challenges and requirements. Parents and the courts must work together to ensure that these children receive the financial support necessary to thrive. By factoring in medical expenses, educational support, therapy, adaptive equipment, and extraordinary expenses, child support calculations can be more accurate and equitable.

Remember that child support orders can be modified if circumstances change, allowing flexibility to adapt to the evolving needs of special needs children. Ultimately, the goal should always be to prioritize the well-being and future success of these children.


About the Author:

Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.