In a divorce proceeding involving the calculation of the parties’ child support obligation or in child support proceedings generally, the determination of income is a cornerstone of such support calculation. So, what is considered “income” for this purpose?
Employment income will be considered as follows:
- Your regular 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. job that comes with regular paychecks and an annual W-2;
- Your own business, which could be a small, one-person operation or a large, income-generating business. For the purpose of ascertaining whether you are earning income, ask whether you are engaging in the provision of services or the sale of goods. Such business includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Uber or Lyft driving business
- Food delivery (such as UberEats, DoorDash, GrubHub, etc.)
- Online business (including Etsy shops, Amazon Marketplace, eBay stores, and the like)
- Running a small, independent business out of your home, such as salon/hair services, food preparation services, or daycare .
- Social Media presence/”influencer” status (TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, OnlyFans, etc.)
If there is an exchange of funds for a service you are providing or goods being sold, the court will consider such funds as income attributable to you, no matter how minimal the profit.
What if you use PayPal, Zelle, Venmo, or another third-party financial service for receiving payments made to your business, or if payments are made through your personal banking account? The form of payment of what would otherwise be considered “income” for support calculation purposes does not bear on whether such amounts are to be considered “income.” What if you do not earn more than $600.00 in a year (the IRS reporting threshold for income)? Regardless of whether you meet the required IRS threshold for reporting income received during any applicable tax year, for the purposes of support calculations in a Virginia divorce proceeding, income does not have a minimal threshold in order to be considered “income” when calculating a party’s child support obligation. If you are engaged in the exchange of monies for services and/or goods, then any funds received pursuant to your provision of such goods and/or services can be considered as earned income for support calculation purposes.
What else can be considered as income?
- Rental Income: Are you receiving any amount of rental proceeds from a tenant—commercial or residential—leasing property you own or a part of your home (such as a basement, spare room, or other separate living quarters)? If so, this will be considered “income” for support calculations in your divorce or other child support proceeding. This includes regular, long-term tenancies and short-term rentals, such as through VRBO and/or Airbnb.
- Short-term Investment Portfolios: Are you engaged in the short-term sale of stocks, NFTs, ETFs or cryptocurrency? Proceeds received pursuant to such investment activity will likely be considered income for support calculations. Any amount of such funds received should be memorialized on your annually generated IRS 1099 forms.
- Gifts and Inheritances: Are you receiving regular gifts from family or friends, whether in the form of actual cash payouts directly to you or in the form of such family members or friends paying an expense of yours on your behalf? Whatever the amount of the gift being given to you, whether in the form of cash-in-hand or the expense being paid on your behalf, will likely be considered income. If you receive any dividends from a large inheritance or trust fund, this can likewise be considered as income.
- Pension Payments: If you are receiving a regular pension disbursement, usually paid on a monthly basis, from a FERS or military service-related pension, this will likely be considered income for child support calculations.
To learn more about what is considered income for the purpose of calculating child support pursuant to a divorce or other child support proceeding in the Virginia courts, retain our competent attorneys who can advise you about the law and how the Court determines income in such cases.
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Every state has different laws surrounding what decisions a caregiver can make without a formal arrangement. Contact WhitbeckBennett by calling 800-516-3964 or by emailing email@example.com, to connect with an experienced attorney in your area who can guide you through the process.
Wehinmi A. Shekoni
Wehinmi A. Shekoni is an Associate Attorney with Whitbeck Bennett. Ms. Shekoni previously worked as an Associate Attorney at the Hopkins Law Firm, where she represented clients in family law cases, and criminal law cases matters such as DUI, speeding, and reckless driving. She litigated and represented clients in divorce cases, custody and visitation cases, child and spousal support cases, enforcement cases, and protective orders. Ms. Shekoni has litigated and represented clients in multiple counties such as Prince William County, Fairfax County, Fauquier County, Loudoun County, Stafford County, and Fredrick/Warren County. To learn more about Ms. Shekoni, click here.