What counts as income in a child support calculation?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Mar 6, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

The calculation of child support payments differs widely by state, but in general, child support calculation is based on the broad definition of your total income after taxes and after deductions have been taken out. In other words, child support calculation is based on your net income. However, while the vast majority of states use your net income as the basis for the support calculation, there are a few that calculate based on gross income. Regardless of whether net or gross income is used, this number is then put through another series of deductions and calculations, depending on laws in your area, to determine how much you must pay. 

What Counts as Income

Since a court begins by first looking at how much you make, it is important to understand exactly what they mean by income or earnings. In terms of what actually counts as income, this too varies by state law. In some cases, the word is used in a very broad sense, and may include wages, assets, pensions, annual gifts, and more. In other states, it is defined only by what is earned at a job.

In any state, a person who is far below the poverty level will likely not be asked to pay any child support; nor will public assistance payments made to the parent be calculated as income for child support purposes.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

How Child Support is Calculated

When calculating child support, the court in your state will begin by looking at how much you bring home (either your net income or gross income) and will then look at various other factors to determine how much of that income should go towards supporting your child.

The child support calculation is based on various formulas, which take into account the parents’ income, the number of children, the level of expenses, and various other details like whether childcare is required or whether a parent also has other dependents. 

Getting Help

For assistance with understanding the child support calculation and specific child support rules in your state, you should strongly consider speaking with a lawyer 

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption