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Income Available For Paying Child Support: What To Know

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Divorcing parents might as well view child support as one of those issues that are bound to pop up during divorce. In most cases, the financial affairs of a divorcing party are an inevitable part of not just child support but marital debts, spousal support, and the assets of the couple. To learn more about the financial side of child support during divorce, read on.

Who Makes the Most Income?

One of the primary considerations, after child custody, is to identify which parent makes the most money and, therefore, has the most resources for paying child support for a minor child. However, the type of custody chosen by the parents may also come into consideration. If the parent making the most money is also awarded sole physical custody of the child, the other parent, who makes less money, may still be asked to contribute something for child support. Also, if the parents share physical custody 50/50, they may both be expected to contribute 50% of the total need calculated for the care of the child. Almost all divorcing couples go with joint custody. That means one parent is the sole physical custodian of the child with the other parent being awarded visitation. By the way, the word joint, in this case, only refers to the legal part of custody and not who the child resides with.

Gross Income of the Parents

Both parents are evaluated for the potential for paying child support and the amount is based on a number of factors. The biggest factor, along with the party's gross income, is the income as compared to the state median. Both earned and unearned income is taken into consideration. Earned income is that which comes by way of wages from a job. Unearned income is that which comes from investments, rents, dividends, and more. That usually includes:

  • Income from a job, including tips, commissions, and military pay
  • Business income
  • Spousal support provided by a spouse from a previous marriage
  • Income from interest on investments
  • Wins from lotteries and other forms of gambling
  • Unemployment and some forms of workers' compensation
  • Lawsuit judgment compensation

Seeking Income Sources

With child support being based on income and given how expensive it is to raise a child, a parent on the receiving end of child support should make every effort to locate forms of income to maximize the support payment. It is not unheard of for parents to hide income and assets that produce income from the divorce process. Full disclosure of financial information is part of all divorce procedures and your divorce lawyer has the ability to subpoena information is necessary.

Speak to a family law attorney to find out more about child support.