Divorce can bring about pent up animosity between spouses, and it can manifest in contentious issues like custody, property division, and child support. Each spouse will try to get as much from the other, and with that, no income from each spouse will be left unscathed.
The question of whether overtime pay and bonuses should be included when computing child support is a good question. Overtime pay may not be consistent, and certain bonuses are conditional in nature, and some are not in a fixed amount. The best way to answer this question is to consult the Texas Family Code.
Child Support Basics
Texas already has clear guidelines for computing child support based on the number of children. It starts with 20% of the net income for one child, and a 5% increase for every child until it reaches 40%. That sounds easy enough, but the conflict arises in defining what should be included in the computation.
According to Section 154.061 of the Texas Family Code, the computation will be based on the gross annual income of the non-custodial parent, and then it will be recalculated to determine the average monthly income.
Thus, the computation will not just be based on the monthly salary of the non-custodial parent, but it will include any additional bonuses that the parent will receive on an annual, semi-annual, or quarterly basis.
Income is not just limited to salary and bonuses. Most married couples have sought to create multiple income streams through investments and other side jobs. All of these will be part of the child support equation since the state of Texas really seeks to ensure the child’s welfare.
The computation for the total gross income will include:
- Wages and salary (100%) of income for personal services (employment) including other forms of compensation such as commissions, overtime pay, incentives, tips, and bonuses.
- Bank interest, stock dividends, royalty payments, and other similar income.
- Income from self-employment and business ventures.
- Net income from rentals (after deducting mortgage payments, maintenance, and operational payments.
- Any other income like trust income, capital gains, severance pay, retirement payments, and pensions.
Thus, overtime and bonuses are all part of the gross income.
From the gross income amount, the Court will deduct the following:
- Federal taxes
- State income taxes (when applicable)
- Social security
- Union dues
- Medicare charges
- Health insurance payments for the children
After these deductions, the remaining amount will be the net income resources, and it will be divided into monthly installments.