April 2020 | 28 Neb. App. 183 (Neb. Ct. App. 2020)

Bornhorst v. Bornhorst (Nebraska 2020)

Distributions to corporate shareholders intended to cover tax liability are not necessarily income for child support purposes. The parents filed for divorce. The mother worked for her family’s construction company. To determine her income for child support, the court used the wages reported on her W-2 form but didn’t include other distributions she received as a company shareholder. She testified the distributions were meant to cover her tax liability and that she had no control over the amount or the timing. The trial court didn’t include these amounts in her income. The mother appealed the final decree, and the father cross-appealed on the determination of the mother’s income. The appellate court found that under these circumstances it was appropriate to exclude the distributions from the mother’s income. The father argued that distribution should be treated as income because the mother had no legal obligation to apply it to her tax obligation. The appellate court didn’t find this argument persuasive.

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