What Counts As Income When Determining Spousal Or Child Support Payments?
Determining support obligations is part of the divorce for many. There are many items to be considered, including assets, debts, earning potential and income. Individuals often have income that goes far beyond wages for hours worked at a place of employment. If this is true for you or if you feel your ex-spouse is not being honest about the extent of their income, connect with a Bucks County family attorney.
There are a Variety of Income Sources to Consider
Income sources, including direct and indirect sources, will be considered when support payments are calculated. This could include one or more of the following. Each situation is unique and will need to be assessed individually.
- Hourly wages and annual salaries
- Job bonuses and sales commissions
- Rent payments and business incomes
- Annuities, royalties, and dividends
- Pensions and other forms of retirement payments
- Unemployment and workers’ compensation
- Settlements and verdicts
Basically, any payment or compensation that an individual collects will be considered when a determination is made.
An individual’s earning capacity is also an important part of the determining process. This will assess the person’s education, training, and health. Then, what the person should be able to reasonably earn will be calculated. Looking into a person’s earning capacity means they will have a difficult time avoiding the financial obligation of support. If, for example, a person voluntarily puts themselves in a situation with a significant reduction in income, that would not relieve them of their support obligations.
When an individual is fired, that situation will need to be assessed as well. The reason for the firing and the surrounding details could be considered.
Of course, there are times when income reductions do need to be taken into account, particularly if the income shift happened for valid reasons. If a person was laid off from their place of employment and is unable to find a position with a similar income level, a modification to support payments could take place. The downward modification will be more likely if the layoff was due to no fault of the individual and efforts to secure another position can be proven.
Steps to Take When Support Payments are More than You Can Afford
If you are in a situation where you feel your support payments are going to be far too high for you to afford, discuss your situation with a Bucks County family attorney. Documentation is an important part of the process. A skilled divorce lawyer can help you prove you have been looking for higher paying employment in good faith and any income reduction was not done to try and avoid obligatory payments.
Are you unsure how much support you will be ordered to pay when your divorce is finalized? The family law attorneys at Kardos, Rickles & Hand help to untangle complicated matters and inform you of your options. Our dedicated legal team understands the finer points of family law. There are opportunities to create the life you want. Schedule your free consultation today, call 215-968-6602.