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What income sources are used to set child support payments?

In California, both parents of a child are expected to financially support their offspring. If the child's parents are separated or divorced and living in separate households, then each may be ordered to provide child support for the benefit of their child. Generally, the parent who does not have primary physical custody of their child will be responsible for periodic payments of support to their child's other parent for the child's benefit.

When a court evaluates how much child support a parent should be expected to pay, it will look at a number of different factors. One of the most important factors in the child support consideration process is the amount of money that a parent collects as income. While many individuals may only consider the wages that a person earns from working at a job as income, the courts include many other sources as possible forms of income for the purposes of setting child support payments.

For example, if a parent is out of work and collecting unemployment benefits, those benefits may be considered income and may be used to provide a child with financial support. Additionally, disability and workers' compensation benefits may be viewed as sources of income on which child support payments are based.

Income from investments, such as through stock dividends and rental properties, is income that courts can evaluate when establishing child support payments. Even the winnings a parent collects from a lottery ticket may be included in their earnings and used to provide their child with financial support.

Californians can collect income from many sources and the courts can look to those sources when they are setting payment amounts for child support determinations. While this post does not provide any legal advice, readers are encouraged to use its contents as an informational introduction into one small aspect of child support law.

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