VICKIE LYNN COCHRAN attorney at law
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How are bonus payments treated for child support purposes?

Child support is an emotionally charged topic in Arkansas for a number of reasons. For those who are ordered to pay support, they may feel as if they are subject to an unfair form of spousal maintenance. For those who receive support, they may believe that they do not receive enough to adequately care for the child or maintain a stable household.

Another dispute over support payments is how to include potential bonus payments made to salaried employees and salespeople. Under Arkansas law, such bonuses are considered income for purposes of paying child support. 

The definition of "income" is intentionally broad to include many forms of monetary payments so that children may have the best chance to benefit from the support of a parent. As such, bonuses are viewed in the same light as commission payments. The Arkansas Supreme Court adopted an amendment to a 2010 administrative order that essentially changed how the law previously treated bonus payments for purposes of determining child support.

As a result of the court's ruling, the assessment of bonus payments shall be separate from regular, periodic support payments. When a family court adds a potential bonus to a child support obligation, it will be assessed at the same percentages applicable to weekly family guidelines for regular income (e.g. 15 percent for one dependent, 21 percent for two dependents, and so on).

The preceding should not be construed as legal advice, as your individual situation may be different. If you have questions about how your bonus may be treated for purposes of determining support, contact an experienced family law attorney.

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