September 1, 2014

Colorado Court of Appeals: Military Allowances for Food and Housing Appropriately Included in Temporary Child Support Calculations

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in In re Parental Responsibilities of L.K.Y. on Wednesday, July 3, 2013.

Temporary Child Support.

In this action to determine parental responsibilities for L.K.Y. and J.R.Y., who are the children of Angela Francis Young and Karen Elizabeth Peabody, Peabody appealed from the order for temporary child support. The order was affirmed.

The parties entered into a domestic partnership in California in 2005 and are the parents of twins born in 2006. The parties moved to Colorado with their children in 2008. In 2011, a California court dissolved the parties’ domestic partnership, and Peabody petitioned the Colorado district court to allocate parental responsibilities. Young moved for temporary child support.

Following a hearing, a district court magistrate awarded temporary child support and denied Peabody’s petition for review. On appeal, Peabody argued it was error to include Young’s military allowances for housing and food, as well as part of Young’s income, for purposes of calculating temporary child support. Peabody’s petition was to deduct the allowances as additional factors that diminish the children’s basic needs under CRS § 14-10-115(11)(b). The Court of Appeals disagreed.

CRS § 14-10-115(5)(a)(I)(X) includes in “gross income”: “[e]xpense reimbursements or in-kind payments received by a parent in the course of employment . . . if they are significant and reduce personal living expenses.” Young, who is serving in the U.S. Army, lived off base and received housing and food allowances in addition to her salary. The allowances were included in calculating Young’s gross income over Peabody’s objection.

The Court found no error. The allowances, as admitted by Peabody, reduced Young’s personal living expenses and therefore were part of Young’s gross income under the plain language of the statute. Peabody argued that the allowances should have been deducted from the parties’ basic child support obligation as resources of the children; however, the Court noted that the allowances were paid to Young as part of her salary to spend as she chooses. The order was affirmed.

Summary and full case available here.

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