The definition of child support is broadly defined and can include any and all sources of income regardless of the dollar amount. Thus, year-end bonuses, Christmas bonuses, commission checks and any other type of income you receive from your employer can be factored in and utilized for the purposes of calculating a child support obligation. Typically, when someone is engaged in employment where they receive a sales commission or bonus on a regular quarterly or annual basis, the parties going through a custodial parenting situation or divorce will address this matter first hand and have the court provide for a calculation and division of these funds as a part of their divorce decree or parenting plan.
Calculating Commissions & Bonus Pay
In practical terms, the court will look at the gross amount of the commission and enter an order that incorporates a percentage of the bonus into that parent’s child support payment. Proof of the bonuses or commissions must be exchanged between the parties and a payment ranging anywhere from 20% to 35% of said bonus or commission, based upon the number of children involved, will then be paid from the recipient of the bonus or commission to the other parent.
Negotiating Child Support Payments
One strategy that I frequently use in negotiations is to seek a payment of a net amount as opposed to a gross amount. While the court can require a gross amount based on the applicable statutory default, the parties can agree to differ from the definition which often times saves money for the person paying support. Conversely, if I am representing the recipient, I want to ensure that a gross amount is included in the calculation and will not necessarily agree to a net amount as it would likely result in a decreased amount of support to my client.
The bottom line is that a bonus check and/or a commission check can be used as a bargaining tool in the child support payment process and we would be happy to discuss various options and alternatives with you.
Please feel free to schedule a free consultation to discuss these and other child support related matters with one our family law attorneys.
By Robert Bartis