Do You Need a Child Support Modification in Colorado?

Laura E. Shapiro -

If you or the other parent has experienced a substantial and continuing change in circumstances, either of you can file for a child support modification in Colorado.


A significant change in a child’s circumstances, such as a medical condition, may be cause for modification of child support.

Colorado Law, specifically Colorado Revised Statute 14-10-115, does not explicitly define a “continuing change in circumstance.”


According to Colorado Child Support Guidelines, any change in financial circumstances that does not result in at least a ten percent change in the child support calculation does not qualify as a substantial change.  This means the support you pay has to be modified by at least 10% or more for modification to be possible.

Reasons for Modifying a Child Support Order

Life can be unpredictable, and circumstances can change dramatically and without warning. Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common reasons people modify the court order:

  • There is a significant and continuing change in a parent’s income.
    • This change can be due to the loss of a job, the start of a new job, or a change in salary or hourly wages.
    • It’s important to note that deliberately reducing income to decrease child support payments is not a valid reason.
  • Additional children have been born since the previous child support order.
    • Likewise, you can modify if a previous court order did not account for after born children.
  • There has been a change in health care/medical expenses, such as health or dental insurance coverage.
  • There has been a change in daycare costs.
  • The child needs to attend a specialized school or has other ongoing extraordinary needs.
  • There has been a change in parenting time.
    • When the parent paying support has more than 92 overnights per year and their parenting time has increased or decreased, modification of child support may be appropriate.
  • There is a child support obligation for multiple children, but one of them has become emancipated.

A significant increase in personal expenses, such as payments for a new house or vehicle, does not justify modifying child support.

Should You File a Motion or Stipulation?

If you and the other parent cannot agree on a modification of child support, you will need to file a motion to modify the existing order. The filing parent must serve the other parent with a copy of the motion.   

Filing a stipulation means you and the other parent agree to modify the existing child support order. If there is an agreement, it must be in writing, supported by financial data, and must be submitted to the court for approval as an order. 

The court will then review the agreement using the state’s Child Support Guidelines. If the judicial officer approves your agreement, the Court will issue a revised child support order.

Before taking action, it is recommended that you consult with a Denver child support lawyer to ensure that you file your motion or stipulation correctly.

Special Considerations in Child Support Modifications

Retroactive Modifications – Child support can be modified retroactively to the date the motion was filed, but not before, unless there has been a change in residence from one parent to the other.

Modification due to Remarriage – Remarriage does not affect child support, no matter which parent gets remarried or how wealthy the new spouse is.

However, if a stepparent adoption is approved, it will terminate the child support obligation and parental rights of the other biological parent.

How Do You Modify A Child Support Order

To modify the current child support order, you or your attorney must file either a Motion to Modify Child Support (JDF 1403) or a stipulation (JDF 1404) with the Court.

The other parent can file a Response to the Motion to Modify Child Support (JDF 1315), but they must do so within 21 days of receiving or being served with the motion.

In addition to filing the required form for a motion or stipulation, the Court also requires both parents to update and file the following:

  1. A Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Financial Disclosure (JDF 1104).
    • The certificate certifies that the other party has been provided with the financial documents outlined in the Mandatory Disclosure form (JDF 1125) in compliance with the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure (C.R.C.P) 16.2(e)(7).
    • You must file the certificate within 42 days after serving the Motion to Modify.
  2. A completed Sworn Financial Statement (JDF 1111) listing current assets, debts, and income. This information will help the Court decide whether a child support modification is fair for both parents.
    • Statements must be filed with the Court within 42 days of serving the motion to modify.
    • If you do not submit a financial statement or there is no support for your reason for the change, the Court may not grant your modification request.

If the parties can reach a final agreement outside of court, they must file a Child Support Worksheet (JDF 1820 or JDF 1821) along with the final agreement. The worksheet will show the revised amount of child support based on information provided in the sworn financial statements.

If the parties cannot reach a final agreement and are forced to have a hearing, the worksheets will be used as exhibits. When the Court enters final orders, it typically approves or issues a worksheet.

You May Not Have to Go to Court to Get a Modification

After filing your motion to modify child support, you may not have to go to court if the issues are resolved. Within 49 days of your filing, the Court will either:

●     Review your motion

●     Schedule a hearing

If you are required to attend a hearing, you and your ex will have the opportunity to convince the judge why the modification should or should not be granted.

Both parties are allowed to have a child support attorney represent them at the court hearing. Even if you don’t want an attorney to plead your case, consulting with one before your hearing is a good idea.


Can you negotiate child support payments in Colorado? Yes, parents can agree on the amount of child support; however, the Court must still approve it, and they will use Colorado’s child support guidelines to evaluate your proposal.

Can you stop child support if both parents agree in Colorado? No, Colorado courts do not allow parents to waive their child support obligations. Child support is the right of the child, not the parents.

What if a parent takes a lower-paying job? In situations where a parent is voluntarily underemployed, the court will impute income on the parent. This may require a vocational evaluation to determine earning capacity.

Have Questions About Child Support Modification?

If you have any questions about filing a child support modification in Colorado or would like to schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney, please call us at 303-695-0200 or use the form below.

Laura E. Shapiro

Laura Shapiro is an award-winning Family Law Attorney with 40+ years of experience. Laura practices Family Law exclusively with her primary focus being divorce and child custody matters.

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