Montana Child Support Definitions
(1) "Actual income" is defined in ARM 37.62.106.
(2) "CSED" means the child support enforcement division of the department of public health and human services.
(3) "Department" means the department of public health and human services.
(4) "Federal poverty index" means the minimum amount of income needed for subsistence. The amount is developed by the U.S. office of management and budget, revised annually in accordance with 42 USC 9902, and published annually in the federal register.
(5) "Guidelines" means the administrative rules for establishment of child support as provided in ARM Title 37, chapter 62, subchapter 1, as
promulgated in 40-5-209, MCA.
(6) "Imputed income" is defined in ARM 37.62.106.
(7) "Legal dependent" means natural born and adopted minor children, spouses, special needs adult children, household members covered by a
conservatorship or guardianship, and parent’s parents living in the household who are claimed on tax returns as legal dependents.
(8) "Long distance parenting" is defined in ARM 37.62.130.
(9) "Other child" means a child whom a parent is legally obligated to support but who is not the subject of the child support calculation. A step-child is not considered an other child.
(10) "Personal allowance" is defined in ARM 37.62.114.
(11) "Pre-existing support order" means an order entered by a tribunal of competent jurisdiction prior to the calculation or recalculation
(12) "Primary child support allowance" is defined in ARM 37.62.121.
(13) "SOLA" means standard of living adjustment.
(14) "Standard of living" includes the necessities, comforts and luxuries enjoyed by either parent, the child or both parents and the child, which are needed to maintain them in customary or proper community status or circumstances.
(15) "Subsequent child" is defined in ARM 37.62.146.
(16) "Transfer Payment" is defined in ARM 37.62.136. (History: Sec. 40-5-203, MCA; IMP, Sec. 40-5-209, MCA; NEW, 1998 MAR p. 2066,
Definition of Income:
(1) Income for child support includes actual income, imputed income, or any
combination thereof which fairly reflects a parentís resources available for child support. Income can never be less than zero.
(2) Actual income includes:
(a) economic benefit from whatever source derived, except as excluded in (3) of this rule, and includes but is not limited to income from salaries,
wages, tips, commissions, bonuses, earnings, profits, dividends, severance pay, pensions, periodic distributions from retirement plans, draws or advances against earnings, interest, trust income, annuities, royalties, alimony or spousal maintenance, social security benefits, veteran’s benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment benefits, disability payments, earned income credit and all other government payments and benefits. A history of capital gains in excess of capital losses shall also be considered as income for child support.
(b) gross receipts minus reasonable ordinary and necessary expenses required for the production of income for those parents who receive income or benefits as the result of an ownership interest in a business or who are self-employed. Straight line depreciation for vehicles, machinery and other
tangible assets may be deducted if the asset is required for the production of income. The party requesting such depreciation shall provide sufficient information to calculate the value and expected life of the asset. Internal revenue service rules apply to determine expected life of assets. Business expenses do not include deductions relating to personal expenses, or expenses not required for the production of income.
(c) the value of non-cash benefits such as in-kind compensation, personal use of vehicle, housing, payment of personal expenses, food,
(d) grants, scholarships, third party contributions and earned income received by parents engaged in a plan of economic self-improvement,
including students. Financial subsidies or other payments intended to subsidize the parentís living expenses and not required to be
repaid at some later date must be included in income for child support.
(e) allowances for expenses, flat rate payments or per diem received, except as offset by actual expenses. Actual expenses may be considered only to the extent a party can produce receipts or other acceptable documentation.
Reimbursements of actual employment expenses may not be considered income for purposes of these rules.
(3) Income for child support does not include benefits received from means-tested veteranís benefits and means-tested public assistance programs including but not limited to the former aid to families with dependent children
(AFDC), cash assistance programs funded under 3 the federal temporary assistance to needy families (TANF) block grant, supplemental security income (SSI), food stamps, general assistance and child
support payments received from other sources.
(4) For lump sum social security payments, social security benefits received by a child of the calculation as the result of a parentís disability,
refer to ARM 37.62.144.
(5) In determination of a parent’s income for child support, income attributable to subsequent spouses, domestic associates and other persons
who are part of the parent’s household is not considered. If a person with a subsequent family has income from overtime or a second job, that
income is presumed to be for the use of the subsequent family, and is not included in income for child support for the purposes of determining
support for a prior family.
(6) "Imputed income" means income not actually earned by a parent, but which will be attributed to the parent based on:
(a) the parentís earning potential if employed full-time;
(b) the parentís recent work history;
(c) occupational and professional qualifications;
(d) prevailing job opportunities in the
community and earning levels in the community.
(7) Income should be imputed whenever a parent:
(a) is unemployed;
(b) is underemployed;
(c) fails to produce sufficient proof of income;
(d) has an unknown employment status; or
(e) is a full-time student whose education or retraining will result, within a reasonable time, in an economic benefit to the child for whom the support obligation is being determined, unless actual income is greater. If income to a student parent is imputed it should be determined at the parentís earning capacity based on a 40 hour work week for 13 weeks and a 20 hour work week for the remaining 39 weeks of a 12 month period. (This is an annual average of 25 hours per week.)
(8) When income is imputed to a parent, federal earned income credit (EIC) should not be added to income and child care expense should not
be deducted from income when the effects are offsetting.
(9) Income should not be imputed if any of the following conditions exist:
(a) the reasonable costs of child care for dependents in the parentís household would offset in whole or in substantial part, that parentís
(b) a parent is physically or mentally disabled to the extent that the parent cannot earn income;
(c) unusual emotional and/or physical needs of a legal dependent require the parentís presence in the home.
(d) the parent has made diligent efforts to find and accept suitable work or to return to customary self-employment, to no avail; or
(e) the court or hearing officer makes a finding that other circumstances exist which make the imputation of income inequitable. However, the amount of imputed income shall be decreased only to the extent required to remove such inequity.
ALLOWABLE DEDUCTIONS FROM INCOME
(1) Allowable deductions from income include:
(a) the amount of alimony or spousal maintenance which a parent is required to pay under a court or administrative order.
(b) an amount for the needs of all ďotherĒ children as defined in ARM 37.62.103(9), determined as follows:
(i) when establishing a child support obligation, deduct:
(A) the total of any pre-existing support orders for the other children; and
(B) an amount equal to one-half of the primary child support allowance as found in ARM 37.62.121 for the number of other children for whom no support order exists. These include children who reside with the parent as well as children who do not.
(ii) when modifying a current child support order, deduct the amount determined under ARM 37.62.146.
(c) the amount of any health insurance premium which either parent is required to pay under a court or administrative order for a child not
of this calculation;
(d) the actual income tax liability based on tax returns. If no other information is available, use the tax tables which show the amount of
withholding for a single person with one exemption;
(e) the actual social security (FICA plus medicare) paid;
(f) actual unreimbursed expenses incurred as a condition of employment such as uniforms, tools, safety equipment, union dues, license fees, business use of personal vehicle and other occupational and business expenses;
(g) actual mandatory contributions toward internal revenue service (IRS) approved retirement and deferred compensation plans. Mandatory
contributions are fully deductible;
(h) one-half reasonable expenses for items such as child care or in-home nursing care for the parent’s legal dependents other than those for
whom support is being determined, which are actually incurred and which are necessary to allow the parent to work, less federal tax credits. Do not
deduct imputed child care expenses when imputing income;
(i) extraordinary medical expenses incurred
by a parent to maintain that parent’s health or earning capacity which are not reimbursed by insurance, employer, or other entity; and
(j) court ordered payments except as excluded under ARM 37.62.111.
(k) cost of tuition, books and mandatory student fees for a parent who is a full-time student as anticipated under ARM 37.62.106(7)(e).
(2) Allowable deductions from income for child support differ from allowable deductions for tax purposes.
NON-ALLOWABLE DEDUCTIONS FROM INCOME
(1) Deductions which are not allowable under these rules include:
(a) payroll deductions for the convenience
of the parent, such as credit union payments and savings;
(b) a net loss in the operation of a business or farm used to offset other
(c) investment losses outside the normal course of business;
(d) expenses incurred for the support of a spouse capable of self-support;
(e) payments for satisfaction of judgments against a parent related to the purchase of property for the parentís personal use;
(f) bankruptcy payments except to the extent that they represent debts for expenses which would otherwise be deductible; or
(g) a stepchild and associated costs.
(1) Personal allowance is an amount which reflects 1.3 multiplied by the federal poverty index guideline for a one person household. This amount
is deducted when determining child support. Personal allowance is a contribution toward, but is not intended to meet the subsistence needs of
(2) Adjustments for the needs of other legal dependents of a parent are limited to those provided for in ARM 37.62.110.
SUPPLEMENTS TO PRIMARY CHILD SUPPORT ALLOWANCE
(1) The primary child support allowance is supplemented by:
(a) reasonable child care costs incurred by a parent for children of the calculation as a prerequisite to employment. The child care
expense is reduced by the federal dependent care tax credit;
(b) costs required for health insurance coverage for the children of the calculation. Include only those amounts which reflect the actual costs of covering the children; and
(c) other needs of the child as determined by the circumstances of the case, including other health related costs.
(2) The total supplemental needs of the child are divided proportionately between the parents according to the parental share determined
(3) Each parent will receive credit for the amount of the supplemental needs paid by that parent.
MINIMUM SUPPORT OBLIGATION
(1) A specific minimum contribution toward child support should be ordered in all cases when the parentís income is insufficient to meet the parentís personal allowance or the parentís child support obligation is less than 12% of that parentís income after deductions.