In order to calculate the support obligation, the court must first determine a parent’s monthly income available for support. According to Administrative Rule DCF 150, the monthly income available for support is based on the parent’s gross monthly income, from all sources including:
- wages, salaries, earnings, tips, interest, capital gains, commissions, and bonuses,
- worker’s compensation or other personal injury awards intended to replace income,
- unemployment insurance,
- income continuation benefits and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) payments,
- contributions to retirement and cafeteria plans and undistributed income of a corporation,
- military allowances and veterans disability benefits, and
- all other income except that which specifically exempt.
Gross monthly income does not include:
- child support, and
- public assistance benefits, such as W-2 cash payments or FoodShare payments.
The most common question we encounter in reality is how to determine the extent of gross income. There are many professions which have complicated pay structures, such as law enforcement, paramedics, doctors, truck drivers etc., leading up to disputes as to whether certain earnings from the sources other than the regular pay should be taken into accounted when calculating child support. For example, a fixed travel reimbursement for a truck driver, unreliable bonuses and commissions subject to company’s performance for a data analyst, COVID-related allowance for the sheriff, should they be counted as one parent’s income for child support calculation? By taking DCF 150 at face value per above, they should be. However, there is no one answer fits all and there might be some incomes that should be excluded given their non-recurring characteristics. Exclusion of these incomes sometimes could have a nonnegligible impact on the amount of the child support.
It is imperative that you contact a specialized family law attorney to evaluate your case scenario if you are in a child support dispute. Our firm does family law exclusively, feel free to schedule a free consultation with us at (608)-709-5000!
This article is drafted by Associate Attorney Cecilia Ju and she can be reached at email@example.com.