It’s a simple question: What does the judge count when setting the amount of child support?
The simple answer is that the income of the payor — the person paying child support — is plugged into a formula to calculate the amount of child support that is due to the payee, or the person receiving the child support. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has an on-line calculator for child support. Go to www.dhhs.nh.gov.
But the more important question is what counts as “income.” Beyond just a paycheck, NH law considers the following as countable income for the child support calculation: commissions, tips, annuities, social security benefits, trust income, lottery or gambling winnings, interest, dividends, investment income, net rental income, self-employment income, alimony (but not when the payee is receiving alimony from the payor), business profits, pensions, and bonuses. If the payor receives a one-time payout of life insurance, the court could consider that money as well.
A payor who is deliberately unemployed could have income “imputed” to him or her. This means that the judge will base the child support calculation on income that the payor is not actually earning but could earn if he or she had a job. Doing this creates an artificially high child support order. The income of the payor’s spouse could also be considered for the child support calculation is the judge rules that the payor deliberately unemployed or is at fault for losing his or her job.
Before making any decisions regarding your income or money that counts as income, it is wise to consider how that decision will affect your child support obligations.