CS Calculations


Hi again :slight_smile:

Situation: Dad had 15+ years in the sales field and at one time made lots of money. His business, however, was directly related to the new home market, and thus his income has steadily declined over the last three years due to the economy. This is evident on tax returns, which show 3 years ago at $150K, 2 years ago decreasing, and last year at only $50K. He had the same employer throughout and he was never downgraded or penalized; his base pay and commission structure remained the same, sales just simply declined due to the economy.

Dad was laid off last August and has been living on unemployment since that time, always sending a half or even more of his weekly check to the ex & kids.

Luckily, he recently obtained a new job. He is back in sales, but the availability of those high-paying jobs ($100K+) just isn’t there. This is NOT a case of dad intentionally under-employing himself. He sought work in the field where he has 15+ years experience, and he took what he was offered (this was his first and only offer) after 6 months of unemployment.

He is making just under $40K now - $16K less than last year, but $100K less than 3 years ago.

Mom is telling Dad that he owes CS based on the last three years tax returns, which is nowhere near what Dad actually makes today, and would be the majority of his current take home pay (the old adage ‘You can’t get blood from a turnip’ comes to mind).

Please clarify for us based on this situation, how child support calculations will be made. Surely they are based on ACTUAL income, which can be proven by multiple pay stubs, rather than based on income from three years ago when this economy was thriving and the potential for high income existed.

Dad wants to be sure he’s paying his best guesstimate of what CS should be each month, now that he’s employed. But he’s - justifiably - a little freaked out about her claim that CS should be based on years past.

Thank you in advance.


Child support is based on actual income. Often the past 3 years of tax returns are used to make the inference that the obligor spouse can earn more, however in this case I believe the facts (and the current economy) make it clear that you are doing the best you can.