When it comes to calculating child support, determining the gross income of each parent is a crucial step. In Arizona, like many other states, child support guidelines are based on the income of the parents. This blog will explore how gross income is determined for child support purposes in Arizona, providing relevant information and citing authoritative sources.
- Definition of Gross Income
To understand how gross income is determined for child support purposes in Arizona, it is important to first establish what constitutes gross income. According to the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, gross income includes income from all sources, both earned and unearned, and encompasses salaries, wages, bonuses, commissions, tips, self-employment income, rental income, and dividends, among others.
Citation: Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) § 25-320(A)(1)
- Inclusions and Exclusions
Arizona law provides specific guidelines on what should be included and excluded when calculating gross income for child support purposes. Some examples of inclusions are:
a. Salary and Wages: This includes income from employment, whether full-time or part-time.
b. Self-Employment Income: Gross income from self-employment includes business revenues minus ordinary and necessary expenses.
c. Bonuses and Commissions: Additional compensation received periodically is generally considered part of the gross income.
d. Overtime and Second Jobs: Income earned through overtime work or second jobs may be included.
e. Rental Income: If a parent receives rental income, it is considered part of their gross income.
Examples of exclusions from gross income are:
a. Child Support Received: Child support received for children from a previous relationship is not included.
b. Means-Tested Public Assistance: Benefits such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are not included.
c. Reimbursements or Expense Allowances: These are typically not considered part of gross income.
Citation: ARS § 25-320(A)(2)
- Imputing Income
In some cases, a parent’s actual gross income may not reflect their earning capacity due to intentional unemployment or underemployment. In such situations, the court may “impute” income to that parent for child support calculations. Imputed income is an estimate of what the parent should be earning based on factors such as work history, education, skills, and available job opportunities.
Citation: ARS § 25-320(A)(3)
- Deviations from Guidelines
While Arizona has established child support guidelines to ensure consistency, the court may deviate from these guidelines if there are special circumstances or if adhering to the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate. Factors considered for deviations include the financial resources and needs of the child, the parents’ standard of living, and any extraordinary expenses.
Citation: ARS § 25-320(D)
Determining gross income is a fundamental aspect of calculating child support in Arizona. It involves considering all sources of income and following specific guidelines provided by the state. Understanding how gross income is determined ensures a fair and consistent approach to child support obligations. If you are facing child support issues, it is advisable to seek legal counsel to navigate the complexities of the process effectively.
Please note that this blog provides general information and should not be considered legal advice.