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Supermodel reaches settlement in child support dispute

Colorado readers may have heard that in late June, former supermodel Christie Brinkley and her ex-husband, Peter Cook, reached a settlement of a child support dispute. When the couple divorced in 2008, Brinkley was awarded custody of the couple's two children. Cook got visitation rights.

Recently, Brinkley accused Cook of becoming delinquent in his payments. Cook admitted he did not make child support payments during a 5-month period when he had the children full-time last summer, but says he has since caught up in his payments. The terms of the settlement, which were approved by a judge, were not made public.

In Colorado, the legislature has adopted child support guidelines which take into account each parent's monthly gross income in establishing a basic support obligation. This obligation is shared by both parents. The noncustodial parent's share of the obligation will be affected by the amount of visitation, or parenting time, that he or she has with the child. The court can deviate from the guidelines when circumstances justify doing so. The guidelines apply to couples who are divorced, separated or unmarried.

Resolution of child support issues often requires the review and analysis of complex financial data. When one or both parents are self-employed, determining gross income can require the assistance of experts. To further complicate matters, if a stay-at-home parent has children over 2 ½ years old, the court may impute income to that parent on the theory that the parent is capable of working. A family law attorney can advise you how to present adequate financial evidence to ensure that both parents pay their fair share of child support.

Source: Newsday, "Christie Brinkley, Peter Cook reach settlement," William Murphy, June 25, 2012

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