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What counts as income for child support in Ohio?

This article is written by Virginia Cornwell, an Ohio Child Support Attorney and Ohio State Bar Association Certified Family Relations Specialist.

People often want to know what counts as income according to the Ohio child support guidelines worksheet.  There are a lot of myths bouncing around about what does and does not count as income.  Ohio Revised Code 3119.01 gives the definition of gross income that the law requires your county Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) or the Court to use when they figure out how much child support you will owe or receive. That statute says that the following things DO count as income for Ohio child support:

  • salaries
  • wages
  • overtime pay, bonuses and commission ( the SMALLEST NUMBER of the two following must be used: the yearly average of all overtime, commissions and bonuses for the last three years OR the total overtime, commissions and bonuses received during the year before the year when the child support obligation is being calculated.)

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  • royalties
  • tips
  • rents
  • dividends
  • severance pay
  • pensions
  • interest
  • trust income
  • annuities

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  • social security benefits, including retirement, disability, and survivor benefits that are not means-tested
  • workers’ compensation benefits
  • unemployment insurance benefits
  • disability insurance benefits
  • benefits that are not means-tested and that are received by and in the possession of the veteran who is the beneficiary for any service-connected disability under a program or law administered by the United States department of veterans’ affairs or veterans’ administration
  • spousal support actually received
  • all other sources of income.
  • For members of any branch of the United States armed services or national guard:

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    • base pay
    • basic allowance for housing (BAH).  This replaced basic allowance for quarters (BAQ) and variable housing allowance (VAH) in 1998.
    • basic allowance for subsistence (BAS)
    • family supplemental subsistence allowance (FSSA)
    • cost of living adjustment
    • specialty pay
    • variable housing allowance

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  • pay for training or other types of required drills;
  • self-generated income (self-employed or business owner)
  • potential cash flow from any source
  • It is important to note that the things listed here count as income for Ohio child support purposes, even if they are not taxed as income by the IRS.

    DISCLAIMER – Read it, it’s important stuff!


    1. K says

      Does State Law trump Federal Law in cases of BAH/BAS/COLA? Federal Law states that they can not be used for the calculation of Child Support and I personally agree with that,especially if the child was born out of wedlock and the pay was not received for the child (or as base pay).

    2. Smith says

      I wish Ohio would not consider BAH & BAS for earned income. One must realize our service men & women work 24hours a day 7 days a week. They are protecting this country of ours and put their lives on the line everyday. If child support is considering these as earned income then maybe the benefit of all Medical & Dental be split with the other parent. Why should the other parent have another advantage and not pay for something that our service men & women have to earn. For example, If child support is based on basepay/housing/food then medical should be a expense that the other parent to should pay that member. Lets be fair!! I’m so tried of taking from majority men that women should help out too!! It’s this equal opporiturnity. My son is a E1 paying $400.00month child support and half of day-care. He is now living in NEW York cost of living is out rages. After paying child suport + daycare he brings home only 900.00 month. Our system totally sucks!!

    3. E says

      Why does my exwife not have to claim my child support as income? i pay the taxes on the “cash” i give her weekly? I think I should either claim that on my taxes as a deduction, or she should claim that as income.

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