Is Overtime Counted when Calculating My Child Support?

working-overtimeFirst, a short story…About two weeks after I was sworn in to practice law, my boss, who was the only other lawyer in our office, was temporarily suspended from the practice of law.  At the moment that telephone call came in about the suspension I was the only lawyer in the office and took over responsibility for a large number and a large variety of cases.  One of those revolved around the custody, visitation and support of a child and the temporary hearing was happening about an hour after finding out my boss was suspended.

So I crammed to prepare for the hearing as much as I could, my client prepared his own financial declaration and brought it to court without my review (a lesson I learned the hard way) and we met at the family court to prepare for the hearing.  At the hearing, the judge reviewed the financial declarations from both of the parents and the pay stubs that are required to be submitted along with the financial declaration.  Then he got this puzzled look upon his face.  He feverishly typed away on his calculator and made some notes.  Then he began berating my client with questions about his income which eventually led to the judge to declare that he was turning my client in to the solicitor’s office for perjury by submitting a false financial declaration.

The issue revolved around my client’s income and the overtime he received at work.  He took the advice of a friend who said the court cannot take your overtime into consideration rather than asking his attorney what to put.  While we were able to work things out with the judge and smooth things over so there was no issue of perjury, the question came up multiple times during my representation of him.  Is my overtime included in the calculation of child support?

The first stop I make is to the Family Court Rules to review Rule 20 regarding financial declarations.  Rule 20 requires a financial declaration “[i]n any domestic relations action in which the financial condition of a party is relevant or is an issue”.

Next, we’ll head over and review the South Carolina Child Support Guidelines.  A party’s gross income is defined by the child support guidelines as, “the actual gross income of the parent, if employed to full capacity, or potential income if unemployed or underemployed.”  It goes on to state that gross income includes “income from any source including salaries, wages, commissions…” and most other types of income.  Your overtime income falls under wages and is not specifically labeled as “not gross income” anywhere in the guidelines.

Finally, we can review footnote 2 to Form 430, the financial declaration form, that describes how to calculate your overtime.  Essentially, your overtime will be averaged out over the year so you won’t be penalized if you just happen to find yourself in court determining the child support amount during the part of the year when you receive a large amount of child support.

 

Comments

  1. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I
    find this topic to be actually something that I
    think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

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  3. GIANNA MERRIMAN says:

    Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank “Financial Declaration Form” to fill out?

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