Parents do not always report all their income on the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet or Financial Statement.
- They might not know what counts as income;
- They might think they do not need to report some payments they get.
- The income might not be documented. Getting paid “under the table” or “off the books” is undocumented income. If you do not get a 1099 or W-2 with the income, it may be undocumented.
Parents might not report certain kinds of payments they get like:
- Reimbursements of their expenses,
- In-kind payments or benefits, like having their rent paid for them,
- Using business property for their personal benefit, or
- Personal expenses paid by their employer or their own business
The judge can count these payments as income if they are
- significant, and
- reduce the parent’s personal living expenses.
If it looks like a parent’s income and expenses do not match, the judge can look at a parent’s lifestyle to figure out what their income really is.
Judges look at evidence of a parent’s
- ownership and maintenance of assets, like an apartment building or restaurant,
- personal expenses, and
- spending patterns.
If the judge decides a parent has unreported or undocumented income, the judge can estimate how much income the parent has. Estimating the unreported or undocumented income and adding it to a parent’s income is called “imputing” income.
If the judge decides to impute income, they use the imputed income in the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.