May 2019 | 2019COA83 (Co. Ct. App. 2019)

Tooker v. Tooker (Colorado 2019)

Non-discretionary educational benefits, such as tuition assistance and a book stipend, are not income for child support. The value of potential income is not necessarily income for child support. The mother filed to modify the father’s child support obligation. The father, a veteran, was receiving tuition assistance and a book stipend from the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. The district court excluded the benefits from his gross income. The tuition assistance was paid directly to the college, and the book stipend, while paid directly to the father, had a specific purpose. The mother also argued to include the value of timber that could be sold from the father’s property. The court didn’t include this amount either. The mother appealed. The appellate court upheld the order. It found if a benefit can’t be used to reduce the father’s general living expenses, then it shouldn’t be included as income. The appellate court also found that the court didn’t err in not including income from a potential sale of timber. The court properly imputed employment income to father and had no obligation to include a one-time or future sale of goods.

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