Colorado Legislature Considering Changes to Child Support Law

Daniel Noffsinger - Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Legislation has recently been introduced in the Colorado General Assembly that could bring important changes to child support law for Colorado’s poorest families. Under the current law, if a recipient is receiving assistance under the Colorado Works Program then the recipient must assign to the department of human services one’s right to receive child support. The purpose of this requirement is to reimburse the state for assistance that is paid to the recipient.

Colorado Works, through Colorado's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, provides public financial assistance to families in need. The Colorado Works Program “is designed to assist customers in becoming self-sufficient by strengthening the economic and social stability of families.” The Colorado Works Program is available in all 64 counties throughout Colorado. The program is funded through the State's annual appropriation of federal block grant funds to the counties.

The Colorado Works Program calculates the need for financial assistance based on one’s income. The current law includes child support payments in the calculation of income for the purpose of determining eligibility under the Colorado Works Program and calculating grant allocation. Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, however, hopes to change this.

Under the proposed Senate Bill 15-012, the state department will be required to pass through to the recipient current child support collected by the state department pursuant to the assignment. Importantly, the amount of pass-through child support “will not be included in income for purposes of calculating the amount of the applicant's or participant's basic cash assistance payment.”

The legislation is still early on in the legislative process. It was first introduced into the General Assembly on 7 January 2015. In a first important step, however, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved the bill by a 3 to 2 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

Child Support Bill Receives Support

The Lutheran Advocacy Ministry, the Colorado Catholic Conference, and the Bell Policy Center have come out in support of the bill and spoke before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Chaer Robert, manager of CCLP’s Family and Economic Security Program, said that Colorado’s current system “effectively waive child support from non-custodial parents” because the payments “go to the state and federal government to support TANF subsidies and county programs.”

Not everyone, however, supports the bill. Senator Kevin Lundberg (R-District 15) voted against the bill because he did not believe the bill is worth it financially. Senator Lundberg said that he wants “to see that this be a revenue-neutral change,” and he does not believe that the State should “be footing the bill by raising the costs higher and higher for the state."

Questions about Child Support? Contact a Colorado Springs Child Support Attorney

If you have any questions regarding child support under Colorado law, an experienced Colorado Springs child support attorney can help answer your questions. Noffsinger Law provides legal services in a variety of family law matters, including divorce, custody issues, adoptions, property disputes, and domestic violence.

Contact a Colorado Springs family law attorney today at Noffsinger Law for help with all your family law needs. Call us at 719.368.3688 to schedule your free consultation or visit our office at 455 E. Pikes Peak Ave., Ste. 103, in Colorado Springs.