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The Colorado Court of Appeals just issued what appears to be a common-sense decision on child support: In re: Marriage of Rohrich & Gross, 2016 COA 36.

In Gross, the parents had divorced several years previously, and reached an agreement that the Father would relinquish his parenting rights and allow the children to be adopted by the Mother's new husband. They incorporated that agreement into a stipulation in July 2013, and in May 2014 the judge in the adoption case formally terminated the Father's legal rights and obligations as part of the adoption.

In the meantime, the Father jumped the gun by filing a motion to terminate his child support obligation as of the date of the agreement to relinquish his rights, rather than the date they were formally terminated. The trial court agreed with Father, ending his obligation as of July 2013 on the grounds that the agreement had "effectively" ended the parent-child relationship.

The Court of Appeals reversed, finding that there was no such thing as "effectively" ending the relationship, and under C.R.S. 19-5-104(5) only a final order of relinquishment divested a parent of all parenting rights and obligations. Accordingly, the Father owed child support until the May 2014 termination of his rights & obligations.

Have a CO divorce or custody case? Black & Graham can help.

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