What Income Counts Toward Child Support and What Income Does Not?

By: James Jennings

child-support-arizona-300x246Many people are confused as to what income counts toward the calculation of child support and what income is exempt.  The calculation of Arizona child support is governed by Ariz.Rev.Stat. §25-320.  Section 320 of Title 25 makes for some very dry reading, so I will try to sum up the question about what is considered income and what is not.

First of all the Court uses Gross Income and not Net Income to calculate child support.

Gross income defined as:

An individual’s total personal income, before accounting for taxes or deductions. 2. A company’s revenue minus cost of goods sold. Also called gross profit and, when it is expressed as a percentage of revenue, gross margin.

And of course there are exceptions:  Gross Income does not include benefits from public assistance programs such as:

  • Temporary Assistance for  Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI)
  • Nutrition Assistance (food stamps/EBT or  WIC)
  • General Assistance (GA)
  • Child support payments received

So what is considered as gross income for child support purposes?  Well that would be:

  • Salaries
  • Self-employment
  • Bonuses
  • Severance Pay
  • Worker’s Compensation Benefits
  • Unemployment Insurance Benefits
  • Wages
  • Income from a Business
  • Dividends
  • Pensions
  • Disability Insurance (including Social Security disability)
  • Rental Income
  • Annuities
  • Prizes
  • Royalties
  • Social Security Benefits
  • Commissions
  • Trust Income
  • Capital Gains
  • Recurring Gifts
  • Interest
  • Spousal Maintenance (alimony)

If a parent is unemployed or underemployed, you may ask the court to attribute income to that parent by entering the amount of what you think that parent would be earning if he or she worked at full earning capacity.


The court shall presume, in the absence of contrary testimony, that a non-primary residential parent (custodial parent) is capable of full-time employment at least at the federal adult minimum wage.  Currently, as of the writing of this blog post, that amount is $1394.26 per month.  That is $8.05 per hour for a 40 hour work week, multiplied by 4.33 weeks in a one month period.

So as you can see calculating child support can be a daunting task sometimes.  Just figuring out what counts as income and what doesn’t, isn’t always that cut and dry.

If you have any questions regarding a specific legal matter or legal strategy you should contact an attorney for legal advice.  If you would like to get started on a divorce or custody case call us today, 602-896-9020, email us at discountdivorce@msn.com, or visit our website at DiscountDivorcePro.com.



Author: arizonadivorcebankruptcy

We are the legal document and case management solution you are looking for. Discount Divorce and Bankruptcy is the only service in the industry that prepares your legal documents for you AND manages your case from beginning to end. We have successfully handled an estimated 12,000 family law cases (divorce, legal separation, annulment, child support, parental visitation, custody modifications, and much much more) and some 5,000 chapter 7 bankruptcy matters for Arizona families.

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