Receive a Bonus at Work? How This Could Impact Child Support Payments


Receiving a bonus at work can impact the amount you pay in child support. A bonus is considered income, which directly affects the amount someone pays in child support. However, it’s essential to understand how courts determine payment first.

Calculating Child Support

First, it is important to understand how child support payments are determined. California bases child support on a parent’s “net disposable income,” which is the income after state and federal deductions. Each parent’s income, their education, involvement in the child’s life, and disposable income can impact the amount you pay.

Your income consists of the following:

  • Job wages

  • Tips

  • Commissions

  • Bonuses

  • Independent contractor income

  • Unemployment benefits

  • Disability and worker’s compensation

  • Interest Income

  • Dividend Income

  • Rental Income

  • Social Security or pensions

  • Payments that become due (Lottery winnings and insurance payouts)

The impact a bonus has on you

Any bonuses you make are considered income. However, courts must decide if this income is a regular occurrence. If a court cannot predict the amount of money you receive from bonuses, it will not count towards your income when calculating your child support payments.

This means a bonus cannot always be guaranteed, and the amount of the bonus may change from year to year. Determining this amount makes it harder for a court to decide what percentage of your earnings will go to child support.

Courts may order an Ostler-Smith order if the parent’s income is not a set amount. An Ostler-Smith order typically requires the parent paying child support to pay a fixed amount based on their income. A percentage of any additional income will go towards child support.

If you feel that your current child support arrangement is unfair, an experienced legal team can help you. Determining how much you will have to pay in child support can be a complicated process.

Call Schweitzer Law Partners today at (626) 788-5225 to make sure you are paying a fair amount in child support funds.