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What is considered income under the child support guidelines?

It can take a great amount of work for Florida residents to manage their finances. Aside from the hard work that goes into earning an income, individuals have to budget for their wants and needs and make ends meet.

Financial issues are also important in the legal system, including in family law cases. For example, coming up with a proper child support amount is one of the most important issues the parties must decide in a divorce.

Last week, this blog discussed how the child's best interests are central to child support decisions, as with other decisions involving the children. Florida law goes beyond this, however, to provide child support guidelines that lay out how child support amounts will be calculated.

In calculating child support, the child support guidelines look at a broad variety of factors. For instance, income is determined for each parent, and the definition of what constitutes income is broad in scope. Under the statute, income includes traditional sources like salary or wages, bonuses, commissions and business income from self-employment or other sources. However, income also includes disability benefits, workers' compensation benefits and settlements, reemployment assistance and unemployment compensation.

Moreover, a person's income received from pension or retirement accounts, Social Security benefits and other sources is also considered. So too is interest and dividends, rental income, income from royalties or trusts or estates, certain gains from property dealings and reimbursed expenses that reduce a person's living expenses.

Accordingly, there are many different sources that will be considered income under the child support guidelines, even if a person might not ordinarily consider some of these sources to be income. It is vital that both parties understand how the guidelines work in order to determine how child support decisions will be made in their case.

Source: Florida Legislature, "61.30," accessed on Aug. 6, 2016

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