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Employment perks counted as income for child support in divorce

Utah parents may agree that when it comes to getting divorced, few things that spark debate like the amount of child support the noncustodial parent is ordered to pay. It is an issue that the parties often deal with long after the divorce proceedings are over. One of the issues that can be confusing to many noncustodial parents is what is included as income for purposes of calculating child support.

Some states consider employment "perks" as income. Items such as cell phones, company cars and anything else that the employee may receive at no cost to the employee, or that is reimbursed, are examples of what kinds of perks may be included. Put simply, anything that an employer provides that reduces the living expenses of an employee may be calculated as income for child support purposes, depending on the jurisdiction.

A man in Ohio requested a modification to his child support when his salary was cut during the recession. The trial court ruled that his employment benefits, worth an estimated $16,750 per year, were income. Accordingly, he was not granted a modification to reduce his child support obligation. He took his case up to the Ohio Supreme Court, objecting to his employment perks being included in his income. However, the court upheld the decisions of both the trial court and a lower appellate court.

When it comes to determining the noncustodial parent's child support obligation in a Utah divorce, more than just the parent's "cash" income will be included in the calculation. Those parties facing these important issues will surely benefit from a careful review of all employment income, including all benefits and perks that come with the job. In that manner, an assessment can be made of the items in issue in an attempt to arrive at a fair and comprehensive income figure upon which an equitable child support order can be based.

Source:, Supreme Court: Job perks could increase child support payments, Darrel Rowland, Oct. 16, 2013

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