Can Rent Concession Count As Income

by Jennifer
(Rogers, Arkansas )

I have really got myself into a mess. My oldest daughter is 17. I had sole custody of her until she was 12. Her Father had moved away to California and we never saw or heard from him. When she turned 12 he returned to Arkansas and remarried and had another child. He came to me asking to have custody changed because he could not afford the support payments. After months of arguments and threats he tried another method.

Please understand I had no real education or understanding of anything legal. He asked me to come in for a meeting with his attorney and instead of a messy custody battle if I would cooperate he would do his best to help me. I went in and sat down with them and basically got fear tactics to the point where I felt I had no power but to concede. I know know that was completely false but this is only the beginning.

I have 4 other children whom I support. I told my ex that changing custody to end his support was one thing but I had no idea where I would come up with money to pay him. He and his lawyer assured me that child support would be set at minimum allowed and that he would never pursue collecting it. It was set at 24 dollars a week by the judge and for five years things on this side have sailed pretty smooth with the exceptions of my daughter being miserable and wanting more than anything to come home. She spends every free moment here as it is.

Anyway, in November I received notice from the office of child support enforcement that they had my case under review. Since that moment my life has progressively fallen to ruins and I have no idea what my next step should be. She is now 17 and he is coming after me of the 5 years of child support and put in an order for modification.

When this started they just started garnishing my wages for the support amount plus a percentage for arrearages. I was shocked but willing to pay whatever was necessary. Next they started taking 50% of any bonus I was paid. Again, annoying, but fine, use them to clear up the past amount I get it.

I just received a petition for modification last Thursday and this one knocked the wind out of me. I manage an apartment complex and live above the office. I am required to do so by law in order to do leases otherwise I would have to have a real estate license. In other words it is a requirement of my employment. It is not included on my w2 earnings nor do I receive an i-9 for it. I make 7.50 an hour.

They attached an earnings statement to the petition that included the apartment as income. Also in the 13 week audit I had made several incentive bonuses because the property had high vacancy that I managed to eliminate. My ex receives 50% of those bonuses towards arrears. Also I had some extensive overtime in that period due to the property condition as well. The overtime has since been eliminated and is no longer allowed.

With all their figures they have me making almost 50,000 a year and as such the child support amount is through the roof. I received my w-2 yesterday and even with all the huge overtime and bonuses my gross income for last year was 24,000. All bonuses I made were in the 13 week period they audited. I believe it was a total of 3000 and they will not be recurring.

I went and tried to talk to the OCSE about the discrepancy but he was unrelenting. I have no idea what to do and I can't really afford an attorney.

From what I have read a judge will look at my other children as a second family that occurred after my oldest daughter but in my eyes she was part of that family when the custody changed and it was understood I have obligations to them. Under this order my base pay of 600 dollars bi-weekly GROSS they will take $248 dollars. I can't support my family off of that and it will leave me not being able to make ends meet.

When they sent me the order for support from the custody change I sat down and read it for the first time. I was shocked to see what it contained. It stated that he always paid his support and consistently exercised his visitation rights. Both are lies and OCSE has records of his arrears. Plus how do you exercise visitation regularly from California when you child is in Arkansas. They lied to me to persuade me to this and they lied to the court.

Do I have any legal ground to stand on? I feel my sanity slipping quickly and I really need your help! Thank you!

Comments for Can Rent Concession Count As Income

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Rent Concession Issue "VIP MEMBER"
by: Child Support America Team Member

Hi Jennifer,

We emailed you your VIP login info a few minutes ago. As a VIP member your situation takes TOP priority over NON-members, so we will be responding to your issues shortly via the thread.

We know you are beyond frustrated with your situation, but please hang in there and remain calm. Again, we are reviewing your situation and you will hear from us soon via this post.

Take care,


Child Support Questions
by: Child Support America Team Member

Hello Jennifer,

We understand your frustration. Do not be discouraged. It can be difficult understanding the laws, you are not a lawyer. Not to mention that you did trust that your ex would not screw you over. So do not beat your self up.

The first situation is can the rent concession count as Income. That is a Yes and No answer. You stated that "It is not included on my w2 earnings nor do I receive an i-9 for it". Here is the issue, is your employer within their legal rights of not filing this income on your earnings? If they are NOT then yes they can count this amount towards your earnings and towards child support payments. If your employer is NOT required to file this as part of your earnings then you may have a case. This would without a doubt require an attorney. This is a very sticky type of "loop hole" situation. But a judge may look at is as income that you are receiving. For instance if you are receiving any type of public assistance, you have to claim this income if not you are fraudulent.

You stated that you could not afford an attorney. Have you tried being relentless and calling around? Some attorneys will accept partial payments, some paralegals can file paperwork and give informative advice as well very inexpensively. Have you called the Legal Aid society in your county? Legal aid are attorneys who will work for you pro bono. The website to legal aid is below. Your situation requires more than just you being able to file yourself. Especially with two states being involved.

You stated you just received a notice for the modification? Is there a court date involved? If so you may wish to consider attending that hearing and representing yourself and pleading your case to the judge. It can be better to represent yourself because then you can speak on all the issues. Not to mention that it will show good faith that you showed up to court and are saying this is wrong. We wish you well Jennifer and keep us posted on the status.

Legal Aid Society:


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