Income from self-employment, rent, royalties, proprietorship of a business, or joint ownership of a partnership or closely held corporation includes gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce such income.
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We will first examine the various statutory definitions of these terms, and then we will examine the relevant case law. It is also worth noting that the fact that income would be subject to a community property claim does not shield one-half of the income from support calculations.
While the article focuses primarily on the definitions of income and expenses for child support, reference will also be made to alimony cases considering the issue. 303.8 (federal regulations require that state guidelines, at a minimum, take into consideration all income and earnings of the obligor).
This article will focus on the legal definitions of income and expenses. The various states have included in their definition of income the following: These items are discussed in detail in section II of this article.
If the question is not whether a particular benefit constitutes income on the law, but rather whether a particular benefit was actually earned or should have been earned on the facts, the issue is one of imputed income. INTRODUCTION: STATUTORY DEFINITIONS OF "INCOME" Items Included in Gross Income Each state's child support guidelines generally contain a definition of "gross income." "Gross income" is usually defined to include money received from any source. Most states have also adopted a special definition of income for the parent who has control over his or her income stream.
Computation of child or spousal support generally involves a three-step process.
First, the court must determine the income and expenses of the parties; second, it must determine the needs of the obligee; and finally, based on the ability of the obligor to pay and the needs of the obligee, it must enter an appropriate order for support.
In the case of child support, the enactment of child support guidelines has refined the calculus further; the legislature has presumptively determined "needs" and thus the appropriate level of support based on the income and expenses of the parties.
This article will focus upon the first of these three steps: the definitions of "income" and "expenses" of the parties for purposes of support. But see In re Guidelines of Child Support Enforcement, 863 S. 1993) (income refers to the definition in the federal income tax laws, less proper deductions).
A discussion of these nonmoney items follows in section III, infra. 1995) (tax definitions of income are not determinative); In re Marriage of Eaton, 894 P.2d 56 (Colo. 394, 825 P.2d 561 (1992) (the court is not bound by federal or state income tax returns in determining monthly income); Powell v.