When going through a divorce and you have a child or children with your ex-spouse, chances are you are going to deal with paying or receiving child support. You may be curious about how much you will pay or receive and how the court (and state) calculates that number. While there are a variety of factors the court will consider, the primary one is income. Determining what can and is classified as income is where it can get a bit complicated.

What is Income for the purposes of child support?

Income can come from different sources and the typical forms considered in Pennsylvania are listed below:

• Salary from you primary employer
• Salary from a second or part-time job
• Rental Income
• Social Security disability benefits

Is Workers’ Compensation Considered Income?

But what about workers’ compensation awards? Workers’ compensation is used to supplement or
take the place of income lost as a result of an injury sustained on the job. The payment is received in place of a pay check or salary one would earn if you were totally healthy and able to perform at full capacity. So, just as that payment is meant to stand in for your income, that payment is considered income in the eyes of the support court. The court can and does consider your workers’ compensation award when calculating how much you would have to pay or receive in child support.

Considerations

Remember, child support awards are proportional to your earned income. If you are only receiving 60% of what you used to make in the form of a workers’ compensation award, your child support order will reflect accordingly. If you had a child support order entered before you were injured, it may be time to file to modify to reflect what you are acting bringing home. The opposite can also be true if your order was calculated using the workers’ compensation award as income but that person has now recovered and returned to work. You may be able to modify to receive more for the care of your child.

Regardless of whether you are the party receiving or paying child support, it is important to consult a knowledgeable attorney who understands your state’s laws and considerations. That attorney can give you the advice you need to both support your child and protect your interests.

About the Author:
Diana Schimmel Avena, Esquire is the Partner and Co-Founder of Previtera & Schimmel, a family law firm based out of Center City Philadelphia. Diana focuses her practice exclusively on family law and serves clients in the Greater Philadelphia, the surrounding counties and Southern New Jersey. She is a member of both the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations Family Law and Women in the Profession Sections, is a recipient of the prestigious Lawyer on the Fast Track Award given by The Legal Intelligencer, is a Top Family Law Attorney as named by Philadelphia Life Magazine and a SuperLawyer Rising Star for the last three years.

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