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Jeffco, Arapahoe, Boulder, El Paso Counties Find Success in New Approach to Help Parents Pay Child Support

By Amy Johnson, Esq.

Colorado parents' payments of child support obligations are ahead of the national average, but still significantly lacking. The Coloradan reported on January 3, 2015, that approximately one-third of Colorado parents with monthly child support obligations do not make payments. [1] Unfortunately, Colorado parents are not alone in failing to pay court-ordered support. Boston-based non-profit, National Parents Organization, notes that nationally, only 60.6% of ordered child support is actually paid. [2]

Colorado's children are owed a total of $1.7 billion in child support arrears. In 2014, the state collected approximately $345 million for its 165,234 children. But 39,000 children are not receiving their support payments.

To attempt to resolve this problem and close the gap between payments made and payments ordered, Colorado has instituted a pilot program in five counties. Jeffco, Arapahoe, Boulder, El Paso, and Prowers Counties are participating in the Colorado Parent Employment Project (CO-PEP), representing 1,500 non-custodial parents owing child support. Through this program, the participating counties help parents find work and stability, enabling them to make support payments. The program takes an active approach to provide non-custodial parents with job training and procurement assistance, bus passes, and referrals for food stamps, housing, and mental health services.

Although it seems to be too soon to declare whether the program has specifically led to greater payments of child support, the support payments received by the participating counties have increased, and in the six months after the inception of the program, "73 percent of the non-custodial fathers — and a few mothers — who entered the program unemployed or underemployed became fully employed." [3]

Non-custodial parents have a duty to the Court, but mostly to their children, to pay the child support ordered each month. Custodial parents often rely on that income to provide for their children, and a successful parenting arrangement usually requires both parents pooling resources to fulfill their children's needs.

If you need assistance modifying child support or your parenting plan, or calculating child support in your dissolution proceeding, don't hesitate to contact us. The Domestic Team at Cantafio & Song PLLC, is available for all your family law needs.

[1] See "One-third of Colo. child support goes unpaid," The Coloradan, January 3, 2015, available at

[2] See "Pilot Program Takes a Softer Approach to Child Support Collection," National Parents Organization, available at

[3] "One-third of Colo. child support goes unpaid," The Coloradan, January 3, 2015.

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