Do I have to pay more child support for my second job or my overtime pay?

Do I have to pay more child support for my second job or my overtime pay?

Child support is calculated based off of one 40 hour per week job.  This is written in the Utah Code.  So, in general, the answer is no, you will not have to pay more child support for your second job.  However, as the law typically goes, there are exceptions to this rule.  If one parent normally and consistently worked more than 40 hours at their job (overtime pay), the court can take this into account when issuing a child support order.  Let’s see how this plays out in a real-world scenario:

Mom works as a nurse and worked 50 hours per week almost every week all through the marriage.  Dad is an engineer and occasionally gets overtime—some weeks he works 45 hours, some weeks 50 hours, but mostly he works 40 hours per week.  For purposes of calculating how much money the parents make for determining child support, the court can and may use mom’s income at the 50 hours per week because that kind of income and work schedule was normal and consistent for her.  The court will not likely calculate Dad’s income based on anything more than a 40 hour work week because his overtime was not normal or consistent.

In the courtrooms we appear in, we see two normal practices:

  1. The court will calculate income based off of a normal 40 hour work week, even if a parent normally and consistently works more than that.  We have seen many cases where one parent regularly works overtime but the court sticks them at a 40 hour work week, the same as the other parent.
  2. The court will calculate income based off the parties’ W2s.  Every year your employer will send you a W2 which shows how much money they’ve paid you over the course of the year.  The court regularly calculates income for both parties based on their W2s.

What can I do to convince the court to use my hourly or salary rate instead of my W2s?

As you can imagine, there can be a big difference between the amount of pay according to a 40 hour work week and a W2.  A W2 takes into account all the overtime, bonuses, etc.  So, if you want the court to calculate your income based on your 40 hour work week instead of a W2, you need to give the court plenty of reasons to do so.  Here are some examples of things you can show: (1) that your overtime pay is inconsistent and not guaranteed, (2) there’s been a decrease in the overtime you’ve had over the last while, (3) any bonuses you received are not typical and vary from year to year, and (4) your pay, position of employment, company policies, or other things have recently changed and therefore your W2s are not reflective of what you will actually earn in the future.

What if I got my second job or started working overtime to pay my child support?

Some parents that are already working 40 hours per week feel the need to pick up extra hours at work or get a second job in order to pay their child support obligation, but they worry doing this will actually increase the amount of child support they have to pay.  Getting another job or picking up extra hours in the middle of a divorce or a custody battle will most likely not increase a parent’s child support obligation.  As stated above, Utah law provides that (1) child support will be calculated based on one full-time 40-hour job; and (2) overtime pay will only be considered if that overtime pay was regular and consistent before child support was initially calculated.

So, in short, when determining how much child support you will have to pay the court will not calculate income from your second job if you’re already working 40 hours per week.  The court may consider your overtime pay if it’s normal and consistent, though.

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