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Fringe benefits can be a child support trap for high earners

Most residents of Phoenix, Arizona, who work for an area company full-time probably get benefits like paid vacation, health insurance and the option of contributing a portion of their check to a retirement plan. However, some executives and other professionals are fortunate enough to get a lot of other benefits as well, which can include, for instance, a company car and sometimes even some free long-term lodging. Stock options, guaranteed bonuses and the like are also real possibilities for highly compensated employees.

Many of these employees have an obligation to pay child support, so it is important for them to remember that these sorts of fringe benefits can potentially count as income for child support purposes, even if, for whatever reason, they do not have to be reported on one's taxes.

Not all fringe benefits will affect a person's child support situation. The benefit first of all has to be what the law calls "significant," meaning that it would probably have to amount to more than, say, the Christmas turkey an employee might get every year. Moreover, the benefit has to actually reduce the expenses that a person otherwise would have to pay in order to get along in life. So, complementary time off would likely not factor in to a person's child support, but a company car or even reimbursed parking expenses might be part of a child support calculation.

Particularly when a person has a high-paying job with great benefits, determining how much income a person earns for child support purposes can be a bit complicated. This is why these sorts of issues might be best discussed with an experienced family law attorney.

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