How is a parent’s gross income determined for the purposes of calculating child support in Arizona?
By Jessica M. Cotter Esq. and Harry J. Lenaburg, Esq.
A key component in calculating child support is determining the parent’s gross monthly income. The court can do this by a review of the parent’s pay check, determining the hourly rate and then multiplying by either a 40 hour work week or the appropriate work week of the parent. The weekly amount is then multiplied by 4.33 weeks per month to calculate the monthly wage. For example
$10.00 x 40= $400.00 income per week
$400.00 x 4.33= $1,732.00 income per month
The court must also include commissions, bonuses, dividends , pensions ( if you are receiving one) interest or investment income, spousal maintenance, income received from a trust, Workers Compensation or any other source of funds available to the parent. Bonuses, commissions and other payments not received on a monthly basis will be annualized.
When dealing with these other sources of income or with a parent who is self employed the calculation is more complicated. Especially when a parent is self employed, as their income is not necessarily the gross monies reported on their federal income tax returns. Adjustments may be made for business expenses, or other offsets, along with adjustments made due to depreciation reported on the tax return.
The Arizona child support guidelines look at other items that the parent may benefit from which may be considered as income for child support purposes. Some examples are a parent’s car allowance or use of a business vehicle that may also include personal use. For military personal the court does consider BAH and BAS, as well as a value for base housing, as a portion of a parent’s gross monthly income.
These are merely examples of the factors which may be involved in the determination of gross income when a parent is not paid by a conventional hourly wage. You are always best served by seeking the advice of an experienced family law attorney, but it is even more essential in those circumstances outlined above.
Source: Arizona Child Support Guidelines June 1, 2011