Many parents, fathers in particular, need to pick up a second job or work overtime to keep up with child support or maintenance payments.  The extra work taken reduces the time available to spend with the kids or visiting with friends and family.  It is frequently a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.  Make sure that the support is not being calculated with your gross income including overtime or second jobs: if it is, you will pay more child support than the law requires.

Child support is calculated based upon the income from one full-time job.  Generally, a full-time job is 40 hours per week.  What happens to child support when you work more than 40 hours per week?

Determination of gross income for child support purposes is defined by C.R.S. § 14-10-115(5).  For maintenance (alimony), it is defined by C.R.S. § 14-10-114(8)(c).  For the purposes of the discussion below, the information applies to both the calculation of gross income for child support and for maintenance.

Subsection (I)(Z) provides that gross income includes “Overtime pay, only if the overtime is required by the employer as a condition of employment.

Subsection (II) states that “Gross income” does not include: (C) Income from additional jobs that result in employment more than 40 hours per week or more than what would otherwise be considered to be full-time employment.

Overtime:  If you work overtime on your job, the question becomes whether the overtime is required by your employer.  If it is part of the job, then it is probably required for you to keep your job.  If it is voluntary, for example you sign up for any overtime that may be needed, then it is probably not required for the job.  If is is part of the job, then the overtime income is counted in determining your gross income for child support purposes.  It will vary from job to job as to what is required and what is voluntary.  If it is voluntary, you may need to obtain a letter from your employer stating that it is voluntary.

Second Job:  If you work a 40-hour per week job and have a part-time job in the evenings or weekends, or work a “side-job”, the income from the second job would not be counted in determining your gross income for child support calculation purposes.  This is conditioned upon the main job being considered full-time employment.  If you work two part-time jobs, typically the gross income for child support purposes is calculated taking the main part-time job, determining the hourly rate, and calculating what the weekly wage for the main job would be for a 40-hour work week.

Shift Workers:  Some people, particularly those in the health field, get paid different hourly rates depending upon if they work weekends, graveyard shifts, holidays, or other time periods or locations.  Typically the gross income for child support purposes for these workers is determined by taking the weekly, monthly or annual gross pay, dividing the periodic wages by the number of regular working hours during the period to arrive at the average hourly amount.

Salaried Employees:  The amount of the monthly salary is the amount used as gross income in determining child support.  It does not matter if you average less than or more than 40-hours per week on the job.  Bonuses and other compensation received will increase the amount of gross income for support calculations.

Hourly Workers:  If the employee is paid on an hourly basis, then the questions regarding overtime, second job, shift differentials and similar types of compensation usually become important in calculating the gross income for child support purposes.

Proving Your Income:  Do not assume that Child Support Enforcement, the adverse party or the court will use just your 40-hour per week income to determine child support.  You must have documentation to prove what your regular hourly rate is, what is overtime, whether the overtime is mandatory or voluntary, and what your income is from other jobs.  Without the documentation to show what part of your overall income is full-time employment and what is more than that, it may be assumed that ALL of your income should be counted when calculating child support.

Child support is calculated using the Child Support Guidelines.  It is a formula.  One of the numbers to plug into the formula is the amount of your monthly gross income.  What is included in the monthly gross income box, and what should not be included, is the question.

The information provided above is general in nature, is not intended as legal advice for your particular situation and should not be relied upon without first consulting with legal counsel.  Martin Law Firm provides legal representation in child support matters in the Denver Colorado metro area and will tailor its services to your particular needs and unique circumstances.