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How do bonuses and overtime figure in to child support?

Many workers in the greater Los Angeles areas gladly accept the opportunity to earn overtime when their employers offer it to them. Many others eagerly await, and sometimes even expect, periodic performance bonuses and other extra payments employers customarily give during holidays or even just because. Among executives and other high earners, these bonuses can be significant, frequently being worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

As this blog has mentioned before, a California parent's child support gets determined primarily based on the income of each parent. In theory, this would include bonuses and overtime, even if someone may argue that such payments are not ever guaranteed.

California's law specifically provides that bonuses are income that must be included in a child support calculation. Likewise, to the extent that overtime pay is included in one's salary or wages, courts must also account for it when determining a child support obligation.

However, there is an important caveat to this general rule. Specifically, courts in California may take notice that a parent's income could fluctuate from time to time. This would be the case when a parent's overtime is not guaranteed or when the amounts of a bonus vary and are not dependent on a person's meeting specific expectations.

It should be noted, though, that courts have the discretion to modify one's child support under such circumstances. They do not have to do so. Therefore, someone who believes that his or her bonuses or overtime should not be counted on for child support purposes will have to present evidence and arguments to prove his or her case. Getting the assistance of an experienced legal professional can be helpful in this respect.

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