Child Support: Overtime, Bonuses, and Guideline Calculations

Child support is a responsibility of any parent. You could be having many different financial obligations so it’s quite natural to worry about how much child support will cost you. There will surely be many questions that will keep crossing your mind. These questions, you can always ask your lawyer for guidance, or you can check out our many articles on child support for more information too.
The most common question family law attorneys get regarding child support is basically how much it would cost. Some people usually wonder if they will have to pay child support from the income they garner from overtime, and some also ask if it’s possible for them to reduce their overall income to avoid paying a higher amount of support.

Calculating the Child Support Amount

When we are looking for the answer to the above questions, we can always refer to the Texas Family Code. The Texas Family Code states that the annual gross income must be computed then recomputed to determine the gross income per month. The net income will need to be determined before the child support amount will be determined. Everything from wage or salary will be included in the computation including overtime page, tips, commissions, bonuses, royalty, retirement benefits, pensions, trust, severance pay, rental income, dividends and social security benefits will be included in the computation initially.
This means that in computation, you will need to start by adding up all the income you’ve received for the entire year. You will then have to determine the net income, which means that you have to deduct the federal income taxes, state income tax, security taxes, medical insurance premiums and most of your regular deductions before the child support amount will be calculated.
So basically, the answer to the most common child support question is a big yes. Your overtime pay and bonuses are included when the court calculates child support. You might hear that someone you know in another state doesn’t count overtime pay in calculating the child support amount. You have to understand that each state has its own laws, and some, like Arizona, which allows parents to do overtime work without it causing an impact on the child support amount. However, Texas always prioritizes the best interests of the child. Even if there could be a better option for the parents, Texas will always approach the situation according to what’s best for the child.

Changes to a Parent’s Financial Status

There might be some unexpected changes in the financial status of the parent providing child support after the court has decided the amount of support obligation. So if you are a parent and your overtime pay and bonuses were counted in determining the child support amount you have to pay, you could be wondering about many things. What if you stop receiving overtime pay and bonuses? There’s also a possibility of losing your job, with today’s economy. In case these happen, you can ask the court to modify the payments that you are required to provide.
If you lose you lose your job, you will still have to continue paying support for your child, however. If you lose your job, the court will assume that you have an income equal to working 40-hours a week and will adjust the child support amount accordingly.

There are also cases wherein parents paying child support want to reduce the amount they are required to pay so much that they quit their job. Is it possible to reduce the amount you are obliged to pay by quitting your job? Unfortunately, this type of trick does not work. It will be a bad idea because you will lose your source of income and you will still have to support your child continuously.
Furthermore, Texas law has a legal ‘shield’ against this type of trick. If you quit your job intentionally to reduce the support amount, the court can apply guidelines according to your earning potential, and not your actual income. This frankly will cause you a headache.
Child support issues will continuously remain complicated. You can always consult a reliable Texas family attorney to guide you accordingly and answer more questions about the matter.

The following two tabs change content below.
Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at timothy.hutton@austintexaslegal.com

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *