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How Are Future Bonuses Handled in California Child Support Cases?

The end of a marriage is often more than just two adults deciding that their relationship is at an end. Often, instead, the end of a marriage is also the beginning of a new relationship between two adults as they learn to navigate the world tied to an ex-partner and as co-parents to their children. When a marriage ends and there are children involved, the question is no longer about how the relationship ends, but instead how the children are taken care of.

In a divorce with children, one of the court’s main concerns becomes the best interest of those children. The court is interested in ensuring that the children are properly supported, a responsibility that falls equally to both parents. The court has the ability to ensure this occurs by ordering payments in any amount necessary for the support, maintenance, and education of the children.

The support that the court orders will be based upon maintaining the same standard of living for the children, regardless of which of the parents are being assessed. In determining this standard, the appropriate amount will take into consideration all income of both of the parents, and it includes any bonuses that either spouse receives regularly.

One parent’s income may be irregular as it comes, in part, from bonuses or commissions. A parent cannot shield or hide a portion of his or her income from being used by claiming it is a bonus, especially if that bonus is a regular part of his or her annual income.

In fact, California Family Code § 4064 specifically states that the “court may adjust the child support order as appropriate to accommodate the seasonal or fluctuating income of either parent.” Often the court will make a percentage determination—ordering the parent to provide the child with a percentage of all future bonuses. This allows the court to take into account the inconsistent and prospective nature of such income. The courts will not allow a child to be disadvantaged simply because a parent’s income does not come on a regular schedule or amount.

If you or someone you know is facing divorce and have minor children in need of support, the help of an experienced family law attorney can make a hard and potentially confusing experience easier to navigate. If you’re in this position, it is in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable California divorce attorney. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger  will make sure you successfully navigate California child support law. Make the call today to learn how our attorneys can help: (415) 293-8314.

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