Colorado Laws

What Is Imputed Income?

Posted in Child Support,Colorado Laws,Spousal support on May 3, 2019

Imputed income is a court-ordered income amount that may apply to child support cases in which one parent tries to escape financial responsibility by lying about his or her income level. The divorce courts in Fort Collins take child support orders very seriously. They will handle a parent that tries to act outside the system by imposing an imputed income amount on the child support decree. If you have specific questions about your assets or computing income, speak to a Fort Collins divorce lawyer today.

About Colorado Child Support Orders

The courts in Colorado may issue a child support order in a divorce case involving children. The purpose of a child support arrangement is to maintain the child’s quality of living after a divorce. The courts believe a child should not have to suffer a decrease in funds, food, clothing, etc. because of a divorce of the parents. To keep the child’s financial situation the same post-divorce, the courts may order a child support requirement to one spouse – typically, the non-custodial parent.

A parent with a child support order will have to pay the amount stated in the order until the month that a child out of high school turns 18, or until the month a full-time high school student turns 19. Parents have the option of working together to determine how much child support one spouse should pay. If they cannot agree on an amount, however, the courts will set child support payments. A judge will calculate the amount of child support based on the Income Shares Model, which looks at the gross incomes of both parents.

When Might the Courts Impute Income?

During a child support case in Colorado, it is up to both parents to accurately report their income to the courts. The courts will then use these incomes, plus information about what the family usually spends on the child, to assign the noncustodial parent’s share of support. A parent may try to cheat the child support system by reporting a lower income level than he or she actually earns. The parent might think that this will punish the parent by paying less. Since child support payments are for the child, however, and not the spouse, the courts will not allow a parent to get away with reporting an incorrect income.

If the courts discover that a parent is trying to shirk his or her child support responsibility by lying about income, they will assign an involuntary income amount to that parent. This is called imputed income. Imputed income may also be a necessity if a parent is intentionally avoiding work opportunities to remain unemployed or underemployed. To calculate imputed income, a judge will analyze the parent’s earning potential based on education, work experience, location, and other factors. Then, the judge will issue a child support order based off the imputed income, regardless of the parent’s actual income.

For example, if a parent was earning $100,000 a year, but then the year of the divorce switches to a job earning $50,000, a judge may assign an imputed income at the $100,000 salary level. The parent would then have to pay the amount based on $100,000, even if he or she has a job that pays $50,000. Each case is unique. A judge will assess the specific situation to make sure the parent in question actually has the ability to make more but is intentionally making less, or that the parent is covering up his or her actual income. Then, the judge will assign an imputed income amount he or she deems appropriate.

Temporary vs. Permanent Protection Orders

Posted in Colorado Laws on August 30, 2018

Protection orders are invaluable to those they defend. When someone is in fear for his/her life or well-being, a protection order can provide much-needed peace of mind. Those who decide to disobey protective orders can face strict penalties, including jail time. If you’re interested in securing a protection order in Colorado, you must first understand which type of order is most appropriate for your situation. Two main types of protection orders are temporary and permanent.

Best Times for Temporary Protection Orders

The difference between a temporary and permanent protection order is not in the things it keeps someone else from doing. Both types protect a party from another party in all the same ways. Instead, the difference has to do with the amount of time in which the order is active. A temporary protection order is ideal in the face of immediate threats of danger. For example, if you have reason to believe someone is going to harm you or make good on a threat soon, a temporary protection order might be the right choice.

Temporary protection orders come through faster than permanent ones. Since they are for use in situations involving imminent threats where time is of the essence, the courts decide on these orders in a time-efficient manner. Typically, a judge will agree to hear a case involving a temporary protection order the very same day. This is important to victims of stalking, harassment, violence, and abuse who need fast protection from their perpetrators. In general, one must always get a temporary protection order prior to asking for a permanent one.

Temporary protection orders are just that – temporary. Temporary protection orders last 14 days on average. After the 14 days, the party requesting the order will need to return to court to request a permanent protection order, if necessary. The point of a temporary order is to immediately serve the needs of the petitioner, offering fast protection. It is not to provide a long-term solution. If the threat continues past the 14 days of the temporary order, the petitioner has the option to secure a more permanent form of protection.

Is a Permanent Protection Order Necessary?

Some bad situations don’t dissipate in two weeks. In these cases, permanent protection orders can be the best choice for people in dangerous circumstances. A permanent order will protect victims from all forms of contact from the offender for the foreseeable future. This includes in-person visits, phone calls, text messages, emails, and letters. Protection orders can also require offenders to give up child custody, leave a family home, give up a family care, make monthly support payments, and refrain from selling marital property.

Permanent protection orders are appropriate in situations in which the threat of harm will not fade in a matter of two weeks. If the criminal, domestic partner, stranger, or other party will most likely continue to threaten, stalk, or intimidate the victim, a permanent order can provide lasting protection and assurance. Although the courts can modify or lift permanent protection orders, they will only do so in limited circumstances. It is up to a judge just how long a permanent order will last.

To petition for a permanent protection order, one must go to the county courts and submit the proper application forms. The petitioner must then prove to the courts through a preponderance of evidence that he or she is in danger of future abuse or threats by the offender. The petitioner has the burden of proving the necessity of a permanent order rather than just a temporary one. A lawyer can help with this burden of proof, if necessary. If you’re in the midst of a criminal trial and wish to gain a temporary or permanent protection order from the perpetrator, your lawyer can help.