A marital dissolution can be one of the most traumatic experiences divorcing parties can face in life. The very foundation they had built over years of hard work and cooperation has now begun to crumble. Separation and anxiety have replaced togetherness. Property and support issues are now the center of discussion, replacing grocery lists and family outings as topics of integral familial importance.

When dealing with support issues, a newly single mother or father may be forced, for the first time, to deal with the issue of which parent will pay the other for the support of their child(ren). In California, child support is calculated using a formula that takes into account many relevant factors, including the parents’ incomes. In determining a parent’s available income for child support calculations, the court will utilize California Family Code § 4058, and its definition of gross income.

Gross income of each parent is defined as the income that includes, but is not limited to:

  • commissions
  • salaries
  • royalties
  • wages
  • bonuses
  • rents
  • dividends
  • pensions
  • interest
  • trust income
  • annuities
  • workers compensation benefits
  • unemployment insurance benefits
  • disability insurance benefits
  • social security benefits, and
  • spousal support actually received from a person not a party to the proceeding to establish a child support order.

According to forensic accounting expert, Brian M. Boone, there are other sources of income that every California court should consider for child support purposes as well. They include: income from the proprietorship of a business (such as gross receipts from the business reduced by expenditures required for the operation of the business); employee or self employment benefits (at the discretion of the court), and earning capacity (imputation of income that is arguably available that is not being currently realized, at the discretion of the court).

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