When you think of your income for the year, odds are you simply think of your wages, whether you're paid hourly, on contracts, or on a salary. While this is definitely your main source of income, it's important to note that there are far more things to consider when determining how much you make for the purposes of paying or receiving child support.
Depending on the industry in which you work, other sources of income could include, but are not limited to, the following:
-- Tips that you get on the job, such as those commonly given to servers, bartenders, and cab drivers.
-- Money earned on side jobs. For example, if you run a lawn-mowing service in the summer, even if it only brings in a few thousand dollars a year, that money counts as income.
-- Benefits that you are paid from the government. Examples could include veteran benefits if you were in the armed forces or social security benefits.
-- Money from a retirement plan or a pension plan.
-- Recurring capital gains; non-recurring capital gains, however, do not count toward overall income projections, as monthly and yearly payment totals won't be based on a one-time gain.
-- Investment income. This could come from investments made in the stock market, direct ownership that was purchased, or other such sources.
Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but it does show how important it is to look into all of the various income sources that may be counted to get a clear understanding of your financial picture and what that means for child support obligations in California.
Source: FIndLaw, "Child Support: Determining Parents' Income," accessed Feb. 24, 2016