What Are Child Support Deductions?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 13 January 2020
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For tax purposes, child support deductions do not actually exist, at least in the United States. Unlike alimony payments, the person paying child support may not deduct this from his or her taxable income, and the person receiving the child support does not have to claim it as income. What child support deductions may refer to are automatic withdrawals from a paycheck, if ordered by a court; individuals who have not paid their child support as agreed, and have been sued in court, may find that this type of paycheck deduction is required. Laws regarding child support vary widely in different areas of the world, however, so it is important to verify all information ahead of time.

Many people mistakenly assume that child support deductions can be taken as a method of reducing taxable income when filing a tax return. This is not the case, however. The person paying the child support cannot claim it as a deduction, and the person receiving the support cannot claim it as taxable income. It may be necessary to list this income on a tax return, but it will not be taxed. It can be confusing because alimony does not follow these rules; typically, a person paying alimony can deduct it, and the person receiving alimony must pay taxes on it.


More common types of child support deductions are those that are taken from a paycheck as a type of wage garnishment or income withholding. This is generally taken as a measure of last resort against someone who has not been paying their child support as agreed. It will generally be necessary to bring a case like this to court in a lawsuit, and the judge will then have to order this deduction from the individual's employer. The method of deduction can vary depending on the frequency of paychecks and the court order, but on a biweekly pay scale a set amount would be deducted, and then automatically forwarded to the intended recipient until the amount owed has been fulfilled.

It is possible to avoid child support deductions such as these by simply paying the agreed-upon amount on time each month. It may also be possible to independently set up automatic withdrawals and deposits to other accounts, though some people are uncomfortable with this method. Regardless, it is best to avoid going to court for issues such as this, as it will appear as a black mark on a person's record, and will often be negatively viewed in employers' eyes.



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