Child Support: What Constitutes Income?


In Virginia, the Virginia Child Support Guidelines are used to determine the amount of child support in many cases. One of the many factors that are taken into account in determining child support is the gross incomes of the parties.

As there are a variety of types of employment and sources of income, the Virginia General Assembly clearly outlined in Virginia Code § 20-108.2 what constitutes “income” for the purposes of determining child support. The Code specifically states that “income” for purposes of determining child support includes:

“all income from all sources, and shall include, but not be limited to, income from salaries, wages, commissions, royalties, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits except as listed below, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, veterans’ benefits, spousal support, rental income except as listed below, gifts, prizes, or awards.”

Va. Code Ann. § 20.-108.2(C). In 2022, the above provision was amended to provide additional qualifications regarding rental income.

This statute has long provided that “[g]ross income shall be subject to deduction of reasonable business expenses for persons with income from self-employment, a partnership, or a closely held business.” Id. The 2022 amendment included similar provisions regarding rental income. Specifically, the Code now states that gross income from a rental property “shall be subject to deduction of reasonable expenses,” with some specified caveats.

This change is significant, as reasonable expenses associated with owning and operating a rental property can significantly cut into the income that one actually receives from such property which, in turn, impacts their ability to pay child support.

A child support determination is not always a straightforward process. If you have questions about child support and need assistance from someone with intimate knowledge Virginia family law, please do not hesitate to contact our firm at 804-423-1382 or to schedule a one-on-one consultation with one of our experienced Virginia attorneys.