Definition of income under the Massachusetts child support guidelines

The latest version of the Massachusetts child support guidelines contains a long list of items that are to be considered income for purposes of the guidelines. Most people, including lawyers are surprised when they see what is included. It makes no difference if the IRS thinks its taxable income.  There is a catch-all category for anything not itemized in the guidelines.


Here is the language from the guidelines:

For purposes of these guidelines, income is defined as gross income from whatever source regardless of whether that income is recognized by the Internal Revenue Code or reported to the Internal Revenue Service or state Department of Revenue or other taxing authority. Those sources include, but are not limited to, the following

(a) salaries, wages, overtime and tips,

(b) income from self ­employment

(c) commissions

(d) severance pay

(e)  royalties

(f)  bonuses;

(g)  interest and dividends;

(h) income derived from businesses/partnerships;

(i)  social security excluding any benefit due to a child’s own disability;

(j)veterans’ benefits

(k) military pay, allowances and allotments

(l) insurance benefits, including those received for disability and personal injury, but excluding reimbursements forproperty losses

(m)workers’ compensation;

(n)unemployment compensation

(o) pensions

(p) annuities

(q) distributions and income from trusts

(r)capital gains in real and personal property transactions to the extent that they represent a regular source of income

(s) spousal support received from a person not a party to this order

(t) contractual agreements;

(u)perquisites or in­kind compensation to the extent that they represent a regular source of income

(v)unearned income of children, in the Court’s discretion;

(w)income from life insurance or endowment contracts

(x) income from interest in an estate, either directly or through a trust

(y)lottery or gambling winnings received either in a lump sum or in the form of an annuity

(z)prizes or awards

(aa)net rental income

(bb) funds received from earned income credit;

(cc) any other form of income or compensation not specifically itemized above.

It is fair to say that the purpose of the guidelines is to make sure that child support is paid and virtually any source of income will be considered. That’s probably as it should be when it comes to children and child support, but many people assume that its only about income from work.  If you have any questions, check it out with an attorney.


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