Marriage of Alvis (Colorado 2019)

2019COA97 (Co. Ct. App. 2019)
June 2019

The child support guidelines account for the first $250 of unreimbursed medical expenses. Neither party can be ordered to pay this amount. The parents’ divorce decree ordered shared custody of three children and set support accordingly. Under the guideline calculation, the father paid his share to the mother. A few years later, the father filed for a motion to compel the mother to pay the first $250 of uninsured medical expenses for each child, each year. He reasoned that since she received support, she should pay the uninsured medical. After a series of motions, the court ordered that neither party could request reimbursement for an amount less than $250 per child per year. The father appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the district court order regarding reimbursement, but remanded the case on another ground. The appellate court found the district court correctly interpreted the statute to mean that the guidelines included the first $250 total spent on the child. The statute didn’t call for each parent to spend $250.  The appellate court then determined the statute excluded that amount from the definition of extraordinary medical expenses. The legislative history indicated an assumption that a child has at least $250 in medical expenses every year. A child support obligation is shared, which defeats the father’s argument that the recipient of support should pay.