What is gross income for child support purposes?

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2020 | Family Law |

There are many expenses that people in Georgia need to pay for each month. For parents who are still raising their children, these expenses include paying for their children’s expenses in addition to their own. Raising children is not cheap either.

Parents need to pay for the basics such as food, clothing and a home, but there are many other expenses as well. There are health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses, extracurricular activities the children are involved in, recreational activities, school supplies and other school related costs, paying for games, toys, bikes and many other expenses.

When parents are together, parents may have disagreements on what their children need or the cost of a certain activity, however, ultimately it can be easy to actually make the payments together once they are agreed to. However, if the parents are divorced or separated, it can be much more difficult to ensure both parents are paying their share of the costs.

Therefore, the courts will issue child support orders to ensure that both parents are making financial contributions towards the upbringing of their children. Child support is determined using guidelines, which starts with determining the parents’ gross income.

Gross income is any form of income earned by the parents before any deductions and includes, but is not limited to: wages, salaries, commissions, tips, bonuses, severance pay, interest earned, dividends, capital gains, disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment benefits, lottery winnings and other forms of income.

Once the net income of each parent is determined, that number is applied to the child support guidelines, which will determine a parent’s monthly obligation. There are other factors that are applied to the calculation though such as the number of children the parents have together. Having the guidelines may make it seem like child support is straightforward, but it can be complicated and determining one’s true income can be difficult. Consulting with an experienced attorney could be beneficial.