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What sources of income are used to calculate child support in MA?

Whether married or not, when a couple in Massachusetts shares a child, it is of paramount importance that the child's financial needs are adequately provided for. That means there will be a home to live in, clothes on his or her back, food in the refrigerator and cupboard, every day expenses and other financial accommodations to care for the child. The state has guidelines that dictate the amount the supporting parent will pay to the custodial parent. A common concern among parents who are paying and receiving child support -- and one that often arises during a child support dispute -- is which sources of income are subject to being part of the calculation of how much will be paid.

The definition of "income" is the gross amount that the parent receives in pay from work or other sources and if it is recognized in the Internal Revenue Code and reported to the IRS, Department of Revenue of the state or other authorities responsible for taxation. The sources of income will include salaries, wages, tips and overtime from work or income accrued through self-employment. Some people make the bulk of their salary through commission -- this is prominent in the sale industry. Those who receive that form of payment will have to report it for the child support agreement.

Severance pay, royalties, bonus money, interest and dividends on investments, money from a business, and Social Security payments that exclude benefits that the child receives because of a disability. Other forms of payment that are calculated are workers' compensation, military pay, insurance benefits, unemployment, pensions, annuities, money from trusts, spousal support that might be received from another former spouse, lottery winnings and income from rentals or other properties.

These are just some of the sources of income that will be accounted for when a parent is required to pay child support. Those who are concerned about paying a certain amount out of their income or custodial parents who do not believe all of the income is being calculated when the award is made need to understand the laws when it comes to child support. Discussing the matter with a legal professional who has a firm grasp on state law can help to navigate this terrain and ensure the proper amount is calculated and paid.

Source:, "A. Sources of Income," accessed on Feb. 10, 2015

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