Last time we talked about the five basic things that go into the guideline child support calculation and today we are going to discuss the first two, i.e. the gross monthly incomes of the parents.
Notice that the formula uses gross income and not net income. It may seem fair to look at how much someone actually gets each paycheck to determine how much they can afford to pay, but remember that child support is not designed to be fair. It is very easy to add deductions, by increasing 401(k) payments as an example, that would reduce net pay in an effort to avoid paying more child support. While a judge could look at each and every deduction from a parent’s gross pay to make sure it is legitimate, that takes a long time. It is so much easier to just look at gross pay and ignore all the deductions, including taxes, so that is what we do.
The formula is supposed to take care of all that by assuming “normal” deductions from gross pay and building that into the calculation itself. In other words, we look at gross pay and use that to guess what your actual take home pay will be. That guess may or may not be close, but the formula does not care and its answer is presumed to be correct. Remember this when we eventually circle back to deviations.
Next we will look at calculating gross income.
Please enjoy this disclaimer: The content of this post, indeed of all of my posts, is intended to reference only Virginia law. I am writing this blog to give some idea of the complexities that can underlie family law issues in Virginia and in no way am I giving anyone legal advice here. While I hope these posts will be informative, no one should feel entitled to rely on the information presented here as an authoritative source. Anyone facing a legal issue is well advised to speak to a lawyer face to face to discuss the specifics of that case, rather than relying on general information found on the internet.