Information About Child Support Income
What You Should Know About Child Support and the Definition of Income

When it comes to ordering child support payments, much of what non-custodial parents are ordered to pay is based on their income. Depending on the state in which the case is taking place, income in terms of child support can have a slightly different definition than what we traditionally consider “income.” Depending on the circumstances, it is possible for social security benefits, retirement benefits, loan proceeds, and stock option sales proceeds to also be considered income in terms of child support.

Much of the confusion of the definition of “income” in many states comes from the fact that state child support statues do not define exact inclusions for income. Because of this, family court judges are required to define income on a case by case basis, based on the circumstances surrounding particular cases. In some cases, sale proceeds from stocks and other non-traditional income is not defined as “income” when it comes to calculating child support payments whereas in other cases it might be.

Child Support and Non Employment Income

Some cases do see different forms of non-employment income included in the definition of income in how it relates to child support. This does include the sale proceeds from stocks, retirement benefits, social security benefits, and even loan proceeds. It appears that, in the most recent decisions on child support, the courts are looking at a totality of the parents’ available funds and how those funds can then be translated into financial support that can be used for their children.

For example, parents ordered to pay child support who are not employed in the traditional sense but are paying living expenses by liquidating assets, they should not be absolved of their financial responsibilities to their child or children should they decide to not seek traditional employment. In this case, the totality of that parent’s assets is evaluated when calculating child support payments. While this deviates from the statutory guidelines in some states, it is considered justified if the judge is able to make the appropriate findings as to why this is included as “income.”

Considering the definition of “income” as it relates to the calculation of child support is not clearly defined in all states, it is hard to determine what judges may or may not consider income based on the specific factors and circumstances surrounding the divorce and child custody/child support case in front of them.

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2 thoughts on “Child Support: What Is Considered Income?”

  1. My wife an I are getting divorced after 21 years of marriage in California. She filed.

    My wife is receiving “past due child support” for a child from a relationship prior to our marriage, ~$288/mo. The child is now adult (male 30) and living on his own. Since he’s been out of our home for several years, my wife uses the $288/mo primarily for the benefit of our household (me, her and our 2 children).

    Can the “past due child support” payments that she receives ($288/mo) be considered income for her in calculating MY child support payments to her? That’s the only “income” she receives. I trying to use an online calculator and it’s asking for her income.



  2. I have a hearing coming up regarding child support reimbursement,medical expenses…. I had received a settlement from where my mother passed away from kidney cancer due to C8 contamination. I got a 1 time lump sum of $303,181.31 I do not get any monthly checks from that I need to speak with someone when you had time thank you

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