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What Types of Income Count in Child Support Calculations?

Fri 17th Dec, 2021 Blogs

Every family’s financial situation is different. Some families are supported by one working parent, while in others, both parents work. One of the primary considerations for divorcing parents when children are in the picture is how child custody will be arranged and how child support obligations will be apportioned. Generally, child support obligations are based on the non-custodial parent’s income, but calculating a parent’s “income” for child support purposes can sometimes be tricky. If your financial situation is particularly complex, you may require the assistance of a Stockton child support lawyer

How Courts Calculate Child Support in California 

Both parents are legally responsible for the financial support of their children. When calculating the amount for which each parent is responsible, California courts use a calculator that takes into account two main factors: the amount of time the child spends with each parent and the amount of each parent’s income. In most cases, the custodial parent meets his or her financial obligation by providing a home for the child, while the non-custodial parent meets his or her obligation by making child support payments to the custodial parent. Keep in mind, however, that courts have the authority to deviate from the amount the calculator recommends and may do so if one parent’s income is particularly high

What Is Considered “Income” for Child Support Purposes? 

The non-custodial parent’s income is taken into account when calculating the precise amount he or she must pay to the custodial parent in child support. “Income” for this purpose includes: 

  • Salaries 
  • Wages
  • Bonuses
  • Rents 
  • Pensions
  • Investment income
  • Income from proprietorship of a business
  • Workers’ compensation benefits
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Disability insurance benefits
  • Social Security benefits
  • Spousal support received by a former spouse from another relationship

“Income’ does not include: 

  • Income derived from child support payments received
  • Income derived from child support received for children from another relationship 
  • Income derived from need-based public assistance programs

In lieu of income, courts may also consider a parent’s earning capacity when making child custody determinations. 

What about Self-Employment Income? 

Self-employment income also counts as income for child support purposes, but calculating a self-employed individual’s income can be tricky. Generally, “self-employment income” is defined as the gross receipts from a business reduced by the expenditures required for the operation of the business. However, the IRS allows many more deductions as business expenses than the California Family Code. Courts will focus on the reasonableness of the business expense claimed and, if the court considers the expense to be over-claimed, it will add it back to the parent’s income. As such, these determinations can be complex and are subject to debate, so it helps to have a Stockton child support lawyer on your side when determining your self-employment income. 

Contact a Stockton Child Support Lawyer for More Information 

For more information and advice about calculating your income for child support purposes, please contact a Stockton child support lawyer at McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau by using our online form or calling us at 209-477-8171.

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