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Is Child Support Considered Income?

Federal law requires all parents to contribute to the financial support of their children until the age of majority.  When parents divorce, the obligation to support the children of the marriage is shared between parents. In most cases, one parent serves as the primary custodian and one parent supplements the income of the children by paying child support. The state of New York provides a form online for supporting parents to calculate their approximate obligations, though these are subject to some degree of modification by the court. Though child support is technically paid by one parent and received by another parent, it is not the same as earned income. 

For purposes of income tax

Child support payments are not tax deductible for the payer, nor are they considered taxable income for the recipient parent. 

For loan or mortgage application

When applying for a loan or mortgage, often the question arises as to the possibility of including child support payments in the income formula. In general they are not included, as the payments follow the child, not the parent and the arrangement is subject to change. If the applicant can show that payments have been received on a regular basis and are scheduled to continue for at least three years, some lenders might consider including them. 

For the purpose of public assistance application

If the income of a single-parent household is inadequate to provide for the children, the parent must have a child support order in place before applying for public assistance. The goal of the state is to clearly emphasize that the responsibility for supporting children is that of the parents — not the state. If a parent has trouble collecting support payments, the state can help enforce the court order by a number of means. Once the recipient parent is collecting child support, the federal agency can take that income into consideration when calculating the need for public assistance. 

If you have questions about your New York state child support payments, speak to a family law attorney who is versed in all issues related to separation, divorce and the support of children.

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