In Interest of EQ and JQ (Colorado 2020)

2020COA118 (Co. Ct. App. 2020)
July 2020

Only one court can set child support. The parents had two separate legal proceedings going on at the same time – one in juvenile court and a domestic relations proceeding. The juvenile court entered an order accepting the parents parenting responsibility agreement. Part of the stipulation was an agreement that child support would be addressed in the domestic relations action. The order also required the father to turn over three months of his social security disability benefit to mother for child support and name her as the payee of his benefits until further order. The father appealed arguing that the juvenile court had no jurisdiction over child support. The court of appeals reversed the order. It found the juvenile court had jurisdiction over the children based on their status as dependent and neglected children and could determine support. However, the juvenile court simultaneously ordered the father pay his benefits as support and transferred the case to the domestic relations court for a determination of support. The appellate court reversed the judgment for a finding as to which court should determine support. The appellate court further found that the juvenile court had to follow the child support guidelines when setting support and that it had no authority to order the father to make the mother the payee of the benefits.