In your disclosures, the court requires you to report how much money you make before tax, and what tax deductions you have. This step is mandatory, even if you and your spouse have already reached an agreement on support.

What’s considered “income”?

There are a lot of ways to earn money and they will all need to be listed. If you are employed, you will need to detail your pay as well as your overtime, commissions or bonuses. If you own your own business, then you’ll need to include all of the information from your profit and loss statement.

What about benefits, support, and other earnings?

Public assistance, spousal (not child) support, retirement, social security, disability, unemployment, worker’s compensation, investment income, rental property income, and earnings from any other sources.

What are deductions and why do I need to report them?

Deductions are expenses that are subtracted from your income. Some examples of deductions are health insurance premiums, union dues, and certain required retirement contributions (usually pension plans)… though there are many other types of deductions. These need to be reported so that your take-home pay doesn’t appear larger than it is.

What is this information used for?

This information is all incorporated into support calculations, which are determined based on your net pay. Your gross earnings are considered as income, and your earnings after tax deductions are considered “income available for support”. When your net income (after taxes) is higher, the amount of support you pay will be higher (or the support you receive will be lower, if you’re the person receiving support).

While your paystubs take-home pay do incorporate deductions, it’s important to note that your net pay after taxes may not be the same. Taxes consider a number of factors besides the deductions listed on your pay stubs, such as mortgage interest, property taxes, and tax credits. In addition, many people will opt for tax withholding that is under or over their actual tax withholding. Because of this, support factors in your gross pay (before taxes and deductions), your tax deductions and credits, and pay stub deductions together to figure out your actual income available for support.

Information about your earnings will also be considered for spousal support, depending on whether you make more than you spend. You can find more information about how the difference between your earnings and expenses affects spousal support here.

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