Child support questions and answers

Divorce is often rife with conflict. Child support payments can be an especially unpleasant aspect of divorce negotiations. The receiving parent may feel shortchanged and the paying parent may become bitter about seeing hard-earned money go to another household. 

Colorado created child support calculators and worksheets to assist in the process; following the guidelines helps both parties approach the subject with a reasonable figure in mind. Still, you may have questions. 

What is its primary purpose? 

Child support calculations intend to provide what is best for the children and allow them to maintain the lifestyle they would have experienced if their parents had stayed together. According to the American Psychological Association, there is a correlation between household income level and children’s well-being and educational success. As a parent, you want to know your children are experiencing the best possible home life at both your house and your ex’s house. It may take some of your money going to the other household to make that happen for your children. 

Do I have a say in how the money gets spent? 

The short answer is, probably not. Many factors determine the award, including income of both parents and expenses related to the child such as child care, health insurance, medical expenses and education. As long as the recipient provides those items, additional spending is at his or her discretion. It may seem unfair that your ex bought a new vehicle recently while child support payments prevent you from being able to afford one. However, fairness aside, would you not rather see your kids riding around in a car with the latest safety features? 

What does it save me? 

Paying a set monthly sum saves you the heartache of dealing with your ex about money. Imagine if each child-related expenditure required you and your ex to agree on the expense and set an equitable portion for each parent to contribute. You probably do not want to talk to your ex with that kind of frequency, nor would you be likely to regularly agree on financial issues.