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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 15 : Domestic Relations

Chapter 011 : Annulment and Divorce

Subchapter 003A : Child Custody and Support

(Cite as: 15 V.S.A. § 653)
  • § 653. Definitions

    As used in this subchapter:

    (1) “Available income” means gross income, less:

    (A) the amount of spousal support or preexisting child support obligations, including any court-ordered periodic repayment toward arrearages, actually paid;

    [Subdivision (1)(B) shall apply to child support cases filed before July 1, 2010.]

    (B) the actual cost to a parent of providing adequate health insurance coverage for the children who are the subject of the order;

    [Subdivision (1)(B) as amended by 2009, Act No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § E.319.2 shall apply to child support cases filed on or after July 1, 2010.]

    (B) the actual cost to a parent of providing adequate health insurance coverage or a cash contribution as provided for in section 658 of this title for the children who are the subject of the order;

    (C) FICA taxes (7.65 percent for regular wage earners and 15.3 percent for self-employed, or any amount subsequently set by federal law as FICA tax);

    (D) State and federal income taxes, calculated as follows:

    (i) for custodial parents, using the standard deduction, head of household filing status and exemptions for the parent and for each of the children who are the subject of the order (not to exceed five children), plus earned income tax credits if applicable;

    (ii) for noncustodial parents, using the standard deduction, single filing status and one exemption;

    (iii) for parents who share custody as defined in section 657 of this title, using the standard deduction, head of household filing status and one exemption for the parent and an equal share of the exemptions attributable to the children who are the subject of the order, plus earned income tax credits if applicable;

    (E) in cases where a child is in the custody of the Department for Children and Families:

    (i) the additional housing costs necessary to allow for the child’s return where the Department for Children and Families plan is for reunification with the parents;

    (ii) Family Division of the Superior Court or Department for Children and Families mandated out-of-pocket expenses necessary to comply with the child’s case plan.

    (2) “Child care costs” means the actual child care costs reasonably incurred by a parent on behalf of the children due to employment or employment related education. Monthly child care costs shall be calculated based on an annualized amount. Child care costs shall not include the amount of child care subsidies or child care tax credits if available.

    (3) “Court” means the court with jurisdiction over a child support proceeding.

    (4) “Extraordinary expenses” means any extraordinary medical or education expenses, including expenses related to the special needs of a child, incurred on behalf of involved children. Extraordinary medical expenses shall include but not be limited to uninsured annual medical expenses in excess of $200.00.

    (5) “Gross income” means actual gross income of a parent.

    (A) Gross income shall include:

    (i) income from any source, including, but not limited to, income from salaries, wages, commissions, royalties, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, Social Security benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, gifts, prizes, and spousal support actually received. Income at the current rate for long-term U.S. Treasury Bills shall be imputed to nonincome producing assets with an aggregate fair market value of $10,000.00 or more, other than a primary residence and not more than $15,000.00 of the value of a motor vehicle;

    (ii) expense reimbursements or in-kind payments received by a parent in the course of employment or self-employment or operation of a business if they reduce personal living expenses;

    (iii) the potential income of a parent who is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, unless:

    (I) the parent is physically or mentally incapacitated; or

    (II) the parent is attending a vocational or career technical education or CTE program related to current employment, or a job training program sponsored by the Department of Labor, the Department of Economic Development, or the Agency of Human Services; or

    (III) the unemployment or underemployment of the parent is in the best interest of the child;

    (iv) gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses where a party is self-employed or derives income from proprietorship of a business, joint ownership of a partnership or a closely held business operation; and rents, minus ordinary and necessary expenses. In determining ordinary and necessary expenses, the court may exclude amounts allowable by the Internal Revenue Service for the accelerated component of depreciation expenses. The court may also determine that other business expenses are inappropriate for determining gross income for purposes of calculating child support.

    (B) Gross income shall not include the amount of money received from means tested public assistance programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Income, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and General Assistance.

    (6) “Parental support obligation” means the proportion of total support obligation a parent is ordered to pay in money as child support.

    (7) “Self-support reserve” means the needs standard established annually, and calculated at 120 percent of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services poverty guideline per year for a single individual.

    (8) “Support guideline” means the guideline for child support established by the Secretary of Human Services under section 654 of this title.

    (9) “Total support obligation” means the sum of money determined by adding:

    (A) amounts derived from the support guideline appropriate to the parties’ available income;

    (B) child care costs; and

    (C) extraordinary expenses. (Added 1985, No. 180 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. April 1, 1987; amended 1987, No. 54, § 4, eff. May 15, 1987; 1989, No. 220 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; 1991, No. 204 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 1993, No. 106 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; 1995, No. 63, § 139c; 1999, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2005, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 5, 2006; 2005, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 32; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238; 2009, No. 156 (Adj. Sess.), § E.319.2; 2011, No. 119 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2013, No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 302, eff. Feb. 14, 2014; 2013, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 110, eff. May 20, 2014.)