Life, divorce and supporting oneself and one’s children can be expensive. Picking up overtime shifts is one way that Massachusetts residents can improve their financial situations when money is tight. However, be aware that the money earned from overtime work may increase one’s child support obligation.
At the end of the day, whether overtime pay is counted toward a child support order is up to a judge. According to the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, a judge may choose to ignore the overtime pay, consider only a portion of it or consider all of it. In order to determine if this extra pay should be counted toward one’s support obligation, the judge will want to know the following:
- Are the extra shifts required by one’s employer?
- Will the overtime pay be consistently available?
- Will the overtime work affect the parenting plan?
- What are the economic needs of the parents and children?
If overtime shifts commonly occur before a child support order is first put into place, there is a good chance that, yes, a judge will consider that income when issuing the order of support. If, however, the overtime income comes after such an order takes action, a judge may choose to ignore it. Why? Because there is no history suggesting that it will be consistently available — at least at first. If it does become a normal part of one’s income, the order of support may be modified to include the overtime pay in the support amount calculation.
Child support guidelines are frequently being updated. The information contained above comes from the latest guidelines which were released in 2018. Massachusetts residents who have concerns about what income will be taken into consideration when determining how much child support they will have to pay can turn to an experienced family law attorney for information on this subject.