Determining Net Income

Child support is calculated based on a person’s net income. Net income is defined as the total of all income from all sources, minus the following deductions: federal income taxes, state income taxes, Social Security FICA payments, mandatory retirement contributions required by law or as a condition of employment, union dues, dependent and individual health and hospitalization insurance premiums, prior obligations of support or maintenance actually paid pursuant to a court order, and expenditures for repayment of debts that represent reasonable and necessary expenses for the production of income, medical expenditures necessary to preserve life or health, and reasonable expenditures for the benefit of the child and the other parent, exclusive of gifts.

One thing that you have to look for when you’re looking at a payer’s paycheck stub is that they’re not doing any side deductions, for example, a savings account, an auto payment, or some other deduction that is not properly defined in that income. Your attorney will scrutinize the income statements as well as the tax returns, to make sure that all of the net income is being calculated in determining the child support amount.

Make sure that you get a current paycheck stub and that you don’t just rely on what the payer states he or she is making. If someone is working for cash, it makes it a lot more difficult to calculate support. However, that’s where you bring the issue to the court and the court will address it. You definitely want to get a cash payer under oath, either in court or in a deposition, to state under penalty of perjury what he or she is making.

You also want to make sure that you have an attorney who will not only take the proper calculation for child support, but prepare the proper orders so that you will start receiving that child support, and preferably, that it will be paid through the State Disbursement Unit and then forwarded to you. That way, you can rest assured as long as they payer is working, you are going to receive your support. You’re not going to have to rely on that payer to make voluntary payments to you when he or she feels he can’t.

Going through withholding order and having it go through the State Disbursement Unit is also a great way to keep records of how much has been paid and whether or not there is a default.