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Court rules that fringe benefits affect child support payments

For many Colorado couples, divorce is the best option, even when children are involved in the equation. After determining child custody arrangements, the former couple must come together to define a fair child support agreement in order to help cover every day expenses incurred in raising a child. If they cannot, a judge may have to step in.

Over the years, the individual paying may feel like the child support guidelines should be revised and request to have them reduced. This is exactly what one man in Ohio reportedly did after he claimed that his income was cut due to the recession. However, reports indicate that the man's employer gave him non-cash benefits totaling nearly $17,000 a year that the courts wanted to include as part of the man's total income received. The man disagreed and the issue was passed through two lower courts and ultimately the Supreme Court that agreed that the fringe benefits should be included, records show.

According to the Supreme Court's decision, the man's benefits paid for fundamental expenses - items like a car, paid car insurance and a cell phone, just to name a few - which would have had to come out of the man's pocket if his employer didn't cover them. Therefore, by accepting the benefits, he essentially increased his income which made him ineligible for a child support reduction.

While this took place in Ohio, it may open doors for similar claims in Colorado. Custodial parents who believe that they are not receiving the child support they deserve, or are fighting an ex-partner who is trying to back out of paying a proper amount, should seek legal assistance.

Source: WHIO-TV, "Company car, phone increase child support payments," Oct. 16, 2013

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