Child Support and Taxes: Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Do you pay taxes on child support?

A: No, you don’t claim child support you receive as income.



Q: Can I deduct child support payments?

A: No, what is paid cannot be deducted by the payor.



Q: Why must I claim spousal support income but not child support?

A: California spousal support is taxable. Child support benefits your child. So, either party can modify a support order if the other starts to earn more, before the child turns nineteen and graduates high school. Spousal support’s purpose is to maintain the parties’ financial level as during the marriage for a specified period of time.



Q: Is it fair my ex always claims our child as a dependent on their taxes?

A: Usually, yes, because the primary custodial parent claims the child, but not always. However, it may be advantageous for the other parent to do so depending on their earnings. Either way, the child support calculation factors who claims the child as a dependent and sets child support accordingly. If you receive a smaller tax refund, you’ll receive more support throughout the year (and vice versa).



Q: How do I calculate income for child support purposes?

A: Pay stubs and tax returns are presumed to be correct evidence of a parent’s gross income. However, parents do fail to report or under report their income, especially business owners. In those cases, you may rely on business profit and loss statements, loan applications and bank and credit card statements, showing business and personal expenses.



Q: Will remarrying affect what I pay/receive for child support?

A: It can. A new spouse’s income is relevant for determining tax liability, assuming a joint tax return is filed, because it could change your tax bracket causing you to owe/receive more or less child support. It’s always good to consult with an attorney when major life changes occur and you are paying or receiving child support.

RRL Up Icon
Skip to content