Calculating Income for Alimony and Child Support Purposes
One of the most important factors that courts assess when setting alimony and child support awards is both parties’ incomes. Although wages and salaries may come to mind first when considering what qualifies as income, these are not the only sources of funds that the courts treat as income. For this reason, divorcing couples should consider retaining an experienced Fort Lauderdale child family law lawyer who can help them determine what they could be required to pay in alimony and child support.
When calculating gross income for child support purposes, courts include not only the individuals’ salaries and wages, but also the following sources of funds:
- Bonuses, overtime payments, tips, commissions, and allowances;
- Gross receipts from business income earned from self-employment sources, partnerships, and independent contracts, minus ordinary and necessary expenses;
- Disability benefits;
- Social Security benefits;
- Workers’ compensation benefits and settlements;
- Unemployment benefits;
- Pension and retirement account funds;
- Spousal support payments from a previous marriage
- Interest and dividends;
- Rental income;
- Income from a trust or estate; and
- Reimbursements or payments from any other source.
Although most of these sources of income are straightforward, some have caused significant confusion amongst divorcing parties when attempting to calculate income. This is especially true for the last source of funds, which courts have repeatedly interpreted as including monetary gifts from family members.
Ongoing Monetary Gifts
In many cases, Florida courts are willing to include any regular and ongoing monetary gifts from the parents of the divorcing parties when calculating those individuals’ incomes for child support and alimony purposes. However, courts have also been careful to distinguish between the types of gifts that a couple receives. For instance, payments that are made in differing amounts and at varying times will usually not qualify as income when making these calculations, as they are considered too sporadic to represent an accurate snapshot of a couple’s income. For this reason, monetary gifts that are clearly meant to be temporary will not be imputed as income by family law courts.
Monetary gifts that are made over a period of years, however, or are made in the same amount and with such regularity that they can be deemed permanent, will usually qualify as income, especially if there is evidence indicating that these payments are expected to continue, even after a divorce is finalized.
Schedule an Initial Case Review with a Dedicated Florida Divorce Attorney
Couples who decide to file for divorce in Florida are required to contend with a host of complicated issues, including whether one party will need to pay alimony or child support to the other. Making these determinations can be complicated, as it requires a calculation of both parties’ incomes, which could include atypical sources of income, such as monetary gifts from family members. To ensure that these payments are properly categorized during your own divorce, please call our office at 954-945-7591 and we’ll help you set up a free initial case review with dedicated divorce attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. today.