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What is considered income for child support calculations?

On Behalf of | Jul 12, 2022 | Family Law |

Parents in Pennsylvania have an obligation to provide for their children’s needs. As parents know, this obligation includes the necessities such as food, clothing and shelter but also includes providing for their health care, childcare, extracurricular activities, schooling, and many other parts of their lives. The expenses are shared between the parents and this is true whether the parents are together or not.

When parents are not together because of a divorce or simply ended their relationship if they were not married, one parent may need to pay the other child support to ensure that both parents are contributing to these expenses. The amount the parent will pay is based on the child support guidelines as well as how much a parent pays for health insurance for the children and childcare costs.

Sources of income used for child support

There are a couple of different factors that the child support guidelines consider, but one of the main ones is the income of the parents. Gross income includes almost any form of income and includes:

  • Income from employment including wages, salary, commissions, bonuses and other forms of compensation.
  • Income from a business that a parent may own
  • Rents, interest, dividends
  • Income received through pensions and other retirement accounts
  • Social Security Disability and/or retirement benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment benefits
  • Potential alimony
  • Money received from lottery winnings, insurance compensations and other forms of lump-sum payments from a third party

Adding together all income from all of the sources stated above is the gross income of a parent. The child support guidelines use net income though, which is the gross income of the parents minus taxes, union dues and alimony paid to the other spouse.

Once parents in Pennsylvania are able to establish their net income, they will then use the child support guidelines to determine their child support obligation, taking into account the number of children the parents have and their needs. Calculating child support can be a complicated process depending on the circumstances and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.