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What is Household Income If I rent room and support another household?

San Jose, CA |

Currently I am separated and divorce has been filed and no orders have been issued yet.
I am living with relatives and renting a room. Relative is employed, I am receiving unemployment benefits.
However, I am still supporting the other household where my spouse and kids live, I am paying all the bills and give cash when able. Two kids (4 & 6 years). I spend 3-4 days a week with my kids and take care of all legal issues such as doctor visits etc. My spouse does not work and has no income other than what I can spare. She has untreated mental condition and refuses treatment. Spouse was married 2 times before but lost custody due to negligence and mental condition.

When seeking public assistance do I use my relatives income as household income or do I count me and the kids as household ?

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Attorney answers 2


Your income, according to the facts that you've described, is your unemployment benefits. The fact that you are in your family's residence has no bearing, as they are supporting themselves. The only impact is that you have (presumably) lower rent than if you were renting from a stranger.

I have another question for you, though: If your wife has an *untreated* mental condition that caused her to *lose custody* in the past, then why are your children with her? What if she neglects them and they come to harm? What if her *untreated* mental condition causes her to *do* something harmful to the children.

CPS may get involved and, because you *failed to protect your children* YOU COULD POTENTIALLY LOSE CUSTODY OF YOUR CHILDREN. You do NOT want to get sucked into the Juvenile Dependency Court system, if you can avoid it, as they'll make your lives miserable.

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.


If your relationship is you’re simply renting a room with other individuals in the house, their income is not your income. In regard to your ability to benefit from their income, it’s not household income. Sounds like you need to take a very serious look at the two children and why they are at home with mom.

I hope this was helpful.

John N. Kitta

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