Modifying Child Support

Modifications of Maintenance are controlled by C.R.S. 14-10-122 which provides:

[T]he provisions of any decree respecting child support may be modified only as to installments accruing subsequent to the filing of the motion for modification and only upon a showing of changed circumstances that are substantial and continuing or on the ground that the order does not contain a provision regarding medical support, such as insurance coverage, payment for medical insurance deductibles and copayments, or unreimbursed medical expenses.


Application of the child support guidelines and schedule of basic child support obligations set forth in section 14-10-115 to the circumstances of the parties at the time of the filing of a motion for modification of the child support order which results in less than a ten percent change in the amount of support due per month shall be deemed not to be a substantial and continuing change of circumstances.

The first step in modifying child support is to confer with the other party. Additionally, if child support enforcement is involved they must also be consulted.

The party requesting a change in child support will describe why a change is warranted in their motion. It's important to carefully explain to the judge all changes that have occurred which justify a new child support amount. A change in circumstances can be a lot of things but in the child support context it's usually either a change in income of one of the parties, emancipation of a minor child, or a change in the parenting plan which changes the number of overnights.

Once the motion, is filed the other party has a chance to file a Response to the motion stating why they disagree with the requested change. The party requesting the change can file a rebuttal (called a Reply) to the Response.

The Parties must complete mandatory disclosures pursuant to C.R.C.P. 16.2(e). Read more about Mandatory Disclosures.

Just like in the original divorce case, the court will require the parties to engage in mediation before permitting them to go to a hearing. Mediation is a structured negotiation where the parties work with their attorneys and a mediator to settle their dispute. An agreement only occurs at mediation if both parties agree and no party gets to unilaterally run the show. In the vast majority of cases, the parties will settle the motion to modify child support without requiring a hearing with the judge. Settlement can occur at virtually any time prior to an order on the motion being issued by the court and it does not have to occur at mediation. The benefits of settling without going to a hearing include saving thousands of dollars on attorney fees and also removing the uncertainty of going to court.

If the parties are not able to settle, the motion will proceed to a hearing. At the hearing, the judge will hear testimony and consider exhibits submitted by the parties to decide whether the person requesting the change in child support meets the statutory requirement for a modification. If the judge agrees that the requirements have been met, he or she will issue a new order for child support. If the judge disagrees, the Motion will be denied and the original order will stay in place.

If either party disagrees with the judge's decision they may ask the judge to reconsider the decision or appeal to a higher court. However, these options should not be relied upon because they are much less likely to succeed.

This page is only a brief overview of this issue and should not be treated as an authoritative guide. There is no substitute for advice from an experienced lawyer. If you have any questions about modifying child support please do not hesitate to call our office at (720) 295-4196 or email [email protected].