Minnesota parents who pay child support (obligors) and parents who receive it (obligees) are often concerned about whether the amount of child support in their case is accurate. There are many factors that go into Minnesota child support calculations, of which parental income is most important. What happens to calculations when that income is not regular in amount, because one or both parents receive overtime pay or gets a second job?
The short answer is, it depends. As a general rule, courts do not use overtime pay in calculating child support obligations, if the amount of child support support awarded would be at least equal to that set by the Minnesota Child Support Guidelines without including overtime, and if the party seeking to exclude overtime pay proves certain other facts to the court's satisfaction.
If you are seeking to have your overtime income excluded from child support calculations, you need to demonstrate the a number of things to the court. The first is that the overtime (excess employment) did not begin until after the petition for dissolution or separation, or regarding custody, parenting time, or support, was filed.
The overtime worked must also reflect an increase over your work hours in the two years immediately prior to the filing of the petition. In other words, if you have a history of working overtime, the court might reasonably find that the income from overtime is a regular source of income that ought to be factored into child support calculations.
In addition, the excess employment, whether part-time or overtime employment, must be for an hourly wage. Salaried employees cannot claim that hours worked in excess of a forty-hour work week, in other words, are "overtime." Similarly, for overtime pay to be excluded from income for purposes of child support, the overtime worked must be voluntary, and not a condition of employment. If overtime is part of your work obligation, you should expect it to be part of your income for child support purposes, too. For example, the railroads routinely tell employees that they are subject to mandatory overtime. If the overtime fluctuates from year to year, then the courts routinely look at an average from the past three years.
The last thing you need to demonstrate to the court is that the way you are paid has not been restructured or reconfigured in order to affect your child support obligation. Many people don't have the flexibility to change how their pay is structured, but if you are working for a small company, especially a family business in which you might have some sway over how and when you get paid, you'll want to be able to document that your pay hasn't changed.
The same Minnesota statute that deals with overtime and child support also addresses second jobs. As with overtime, if you take a second job before your petition is filed, the income from that job may be considered for purposes of calculating child support. This is particularly true if your main job is only part-time.
The bottom line is that child support calculations can be complicated, especially when your income changes from paycheck to paycheck. The help of an experienced family law attorney is essential to make sure that child support calculations include the right amount of income. Please contact us at Mundahl Law with any questions you have about how your overtime pay or second job will affect your Minnesota child support calculations. We look forward to working with you.