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Accounting For Bonuses When Calculating Child Support In Florida


In Florida, family law judges, when calculating child support, are required to adhere to strict guidelines that take into account the parties’ incomes, expenses, and time-sharing arrangement. This does not, however, mean that calculating child support is not without its difficulties. Determining what qualifies as income, for instance, can be complicated, especially for those who receive commissions and bonuses at irregular times throughout the year. Read on to learn more about how bonuses could affect the child support that you or your co-parent will owe every month.

How is Child Support Determined? 

In Florida, child support amounts are determined according to a specific set of guidelines that were put in place by state lawmakers. These guidelines are made up of a chart that accounts for a few different factors, including:

  • Both parents’ combined net incomes; and
  • The number of children being supported.

These numbers are then linked with a corresponding child support amount that can be further modified based on how much time the parent spends with each child. The more overnight visits a parent has with a child, for instance, the lower his or her monthly payment will likely be. Of these factors, however, the parties’ incomes play the biggest role in determining how much a parent owes in monthly support.

What Qualifies as Income When Calculating Child Support? 

While they may not be paid every two weeks like a regular salary, bonuses are still considered part of a parent’s income when calculating child support in Florida. In fact, income includes not only salaries and wages, but also:

  • Allowances;
  • Overtime pay;
  • Tips; and
  • Commissions.

This is in addition to business income from self-employment and independent contracts, disability and unemployment benefits, pension and retirement benefits, rental income, interest and dividends, and trust income. Because income is defined so broadly for child support calculation purposes, it is important for those who receive income from multiple sources to work with an attorney when attempting to calculate what they may owe in monthly support once their divorce is finalized.

Regular and Continuous Bonuses 

It’s important to note, however, that while bonuses need to be included when calculating income, this is only true in cases where bonuses recur year after year, or are regular and continuous. Bonuses that are paid at the end of every year, even if their amount varies, for instance, can be included as income when calculating child support. A bonus found to be a one-time event, on the other hand, wouldn’t qualify as income for child support calculation purposes.

Do You Have Questions About Florida Child Support? 

If you have questions about how your bonus could affect your child support obligation, we are here to help. Call 954-945-7591 and we’ll help you set up a meeting with experienced Florida child support lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. today. We know these matters can be stressful, leaving parents unsure of their obligations or stretched financially and are eager to put our experience and resources to use in your case.




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