In Pennsylvania, the amount of child support a person owes depends on how much income both parents make at the time the order is entered. Although in some cases this calculation is as simple as looking at each parent's recent paychecks, in other situations, what is or is not considered income for child support purposes can be the source of a lot of contention.
Under Pennsylvania child support laws, "income" has a very broad definition and may even include items that a person does not have to report on his or her tax returns. For instance, it includes payments from the Social Security Administration, unemployment benefits and workers' compensation benefits, as well as income from retirement plans, even if the plan itself is exempt from taxation.
Income also includes the profits a person makes in his or her business affair or investments, and these profits would include things like net business income, income from the sale of real estate or interest and dividend payments. Although in some cases, a Philadelphia resident can defer this sort of income on his or her taxes, it may be harder to convince a family law judge that the resident should be allowed to do so for child support purposes.
For some of these types of income, it can be hard to know exactly what a person is or is not making, as the books of a family business are not always clear. In these sorts of more complicated child support matters, the assistance of an experienced Philadelphia family law attorney may prove to be invaluable.