The calculations of parents’ child support obligations can be complicated and specific to their particular financial situations. As such the readers of this California legal blog are asked to discuss their specific child support questions with attorneys who are familiar with their cases. This post will briefly touch on some of the sources of income that may be assessed to decide how much parents will be asked to pay for the benefit of their kids as child support, but it should not be read as a comprehensive review of California child support law.

Child support payments are based on the amount of money that the child’s parents earn and the amount of time the child spends with each of them. What a parent makes is a broad concept in California and reaches far beyond the parent’s earnings from their regular job.

For example, wages, tips, commissions, and bonuses are all considered income for the purposes of computing child support. Money earned from self-employment or independent contracting is also considered income, as is interest, rental, and dividend income.

Money received from benefits’ programs may also be considered income. If a parent receives disability or workers’ compensation benefits, that money may be included as income for child support computations. Unemployment benefits, Social Security benefits, and veterans’ benefits may all be assessed when child support is under consideration.

It is important that parents are truthful when they are subject to income assessments for the purposes of computing child support under the California guidelines. However, parents may have some options if they cannot financially support their kids at the level the guidelines suggest. Individual support may be sought by those readers who wish to further their understanding of child support law.