In re Aragon (Colorado 2019)
A worker’s compensation lump sum is income for child support. To factor the lump sum into the parent’s income, divide the lump sum payment by the number of weeks the parent didn’t work. The parents, who have five children, filed for divorce. The father received a lump sum workers’ compensation payment due to a work-related injury. To figure his monthly income for child support, the district court divided the lump sum by twelve months and added that amount to his other monthly income. The father appealed, arguing that the workers’ compensation benefit should be spread out over the time of lost wages, a longer period in this case. The appellate court agreed. The appellate court noted that a workers’ compensation payment is meant to replace lost wages, and the amount is calculated based on the injured employee’s weekly wage. For child support income, it is appropriate to divide the amount by the number of lost weeks of work. To do otherwise penalizes the injured parent.