October 2021 | 310 Neb. 196 (2021)

Vanderveer v. Vanderveer (Nebraska 2021)

TheThe definition of income for child support is purposefully broad. All income, unless specifically excluded, counts as long as it is regularly received for the foreseeable future. The parents, who had two children, filed for divorce. The father’s income consisted of a base salary, an annual bonus, and the proceeds from stock shares. He received stock shares from his employer annually. The shares vested in the future, and as they vested, the father cashed them and used them for household expenses. In the division of marital property, the trial court divided the stock grants received during the marriage that were not yet vested. The trial court excluded any stock proceeds from the father’s income for child support. The mother and father both appealed the final decree.  The mother argued the trial court should have included the stock proceeds in the father’s child support income. The Supreme Court reversed the child support calculation. The trial court erred in a blanket exclusion of the stock proceeds from the father’s income. The definition of income for child support is inclusive. Evidence showed the father received the stock grant regularly and there was no indication this would stop, creating a rebuttable presumption to include the proceeds as income. The father failed to rebut it. The trial court reasoned the proceeds from the unvested stock had been included in the marital property division. The Supreme Court found this was error. Money can be income for child support and divided as marital property. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. In excluding all the proceeds from the father’s income, the trial court ignored the income the father will received from the unvested shares that weren’t treated as marital property.

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