Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Bonuses are figured into child support calculations

Many residents of Orange County have the benefit of being in jobs that offer both regular and unexpected bonuses. Sometimes, these bonuses are "just because," while at other times they may be based in some way on job performance. Oftentimes, California business executives and salespeople may even have a detailed plan with their employers in which they are promised bonuses in exchange for meeting certain defined goals or achieving a pre-determined result.

These bonuses can be quite generous. Since a bonus is income that benefits the parent receiving it, a court will consider bonuses when calculating child support. In fact, California law specifically says that a court must consider a parent's bonuses when determining overall income. Income, in turn, plays the predominant role in determining how much child support a parent will pay.

However, there is an important exception to this rule. The exception is that a court can choose to adjust a parent's support obligation downward if the parent can show that some of his or her income fluctuates. In this respect, a parent can argue that his or her bonus is either a one-time occurrence or something that is not in any way guaranteed. As such, it should not factor into the court's child support determination.

A parent who wishes to make this argument will need to present evidence to prove it. After all, it may make a big difference to a court if the parent always gets a bonus, perhaps by agreement, so long as he or she meets certain performance goals.

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