If you need to calculate or recalculate child support based upon either an initial complaint for divorce or a Motion to Modify Child Support then you may want to approach the subject with care if you are the one paying the child support and you work overtime.
Overtime may be considered by the judge in determining the amount of child support you should be paying. This is tricky not because the calculations become more cumbersome and not because the case law or statutes provide for any specific way of determining how much, if any, overtime should be factored into your gross income for purposes for calculating your child support obligation. Rather, this is tricky because this particular issue is left to the sound discretion of the Rhode Island family court judge presiding over your case.
This wouldn't be quite so tricky if it weren't for the fact that each judge may exercise his or her discretion differently and have differing ideas on whether overtime pay should be factored into your gross income for child support calculation purposes and why.
Overtime pay continues to be an issue that has lead to very frustrating results for some parents who appear before the family court for that very reason.
As you can imagine it is very difficult to meet with a client who poses the question, "Will the 20 hours of overtime I work each week be factored into my gross income when it's time to calculate my child support?" and give them such a definitive answer as . . . . "maybe" . . . or, "it depends".
Not surprisingly, prospective clients and those who consult attorneys on this issue are often upset to find that there is no set answer that is applied universally to each case. Most people expect consistency from the family court judges on this singular issue and are shocked to find that this actually depends upon the judge's ideas on the subject and occasionally on their attorney's ability to emphasize a point strongly enough that the judge sees it as inequitable to include the overtime pay in gross income of the child support paying parent.
Ultimately, when dealing with the issue of overtime and whether it should be considered as part of the parent's gross income it may become a matter of which judge is assigned to your case and his or her particular views on the subject.
Does this lead to consistent results on the subject of overtime inclusion in gross income for purposes of child support? No, it doesn't. At best, there may be consistency regarding a particular judge's rulings on the subject. However, there isn't really any consistency across the Rhode Island family court judiciary on this subject.
It should come as no surprise then that a lawyer who focuses his or her practice in the areas of divorce and family law issues can be your best advocate here and give you the best indicators of success regarding this issue once he or she becomes aware of who the judge in your case will be.
As a general rule of thumb, you should anticipate that overtime pay will be considered and factored into your gross income for purposes of determining child support under the Rhode Island Child Support Guidelines if you work overtime with any degree of regularity and consistency.
It's like the old saying. Plan for the worst but hope for the best.
It pays to have the right lawyer on your side!