Depreciation Deductions & Child or Spousal Support

How Do Depreciation Deductions Enter into Child or Spousal Support?

If you own a business or a rental property, you are probably used to taking depreciation deductions. These are applied against your annual income on your federal and California state tax returns. These depreciation deductions lower your income for tax purposes.

When calculating your income to determine the child or spousal support you’ll pay, however, California family courts do not allow depreciation deductions. Instead, business or real estate depreciation deductions are added back into your income. That’s because, in the eyes of the court, claiming a depreciation deduction on your income tax returns does not reduce the amount of actual cash you may have available to pay child or spousal support.

What is taken into consideration?

A parent’s first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children according to the parent’s circumstances and station in life. Child support is based on each parent’s net disposable monthly income and the amount of time the child will be cared for by each parent. The court considers each parent’s income from all sources, whether or not it is reported or taxed under federal and state law.

The court may award spousal support to help equalize the financial resources of the divorcing couple. In determining the amount of support to award, the court will assess the lower income spouse’s needs and the other spouse’s ability to pay.

You may be able to lower your child or spousal support payments

The court won’t allow you to deduct property or business depreciation from your income when calculating child or spousal support. But there may be other perfectly legal things you can do to lower your support payments. Support calculations are complex, especially if you are self-employed, or a  high net worth individual. California family courts have considerable amount of discretion in their decisions.


If you want to know if you are paying the appropriate amount of child or spousal support and you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, please contact our office for a consultation. We understand the intricacies of calculating support payments. Marissa Major and Hillary Warren of Warren Major LLC are Marin County family law attorneys, specializing in divorce, child custody and support, marital contracts and other family law issues. If you are looking for honest, expert legal advice, please contact our office for a consultation

Disclaimer: Warren Major LLP’s blog articles on its website for informational purposes only. The information contained herein may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Warren Major LLP or the individual author. This general information is not a substitute for legal advice on any subject matter. For advice pertaining to your specific case, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. No reader of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this article without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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