In Arizona, child support amount(s) are determined by the Arizona Child Support Guidelines (“Guidelines"), effective January 1, 2005. The purpose of the guidelines “are to establish a standard of support for children consistent with the reasonable needs of children and the ability of parents to pay." See Guidelines ¶ 1.

In factoring child support, among other considerations, the Guidelines look to each parties gross income coupled with the amount of court awarded parenting time. ¶ 5 of the Guidelines lays out a rather lengthy definition and calculation for determining “Gross Income." Parties often want to know, in addition to the standard definition for Gross Income, can income from overtime and/or a second job be added to a parties Gross Income total?

In answer to this question, the Guidelines make clear that “[g]enerally, the court should not attribute income greater than what would have been earned from full-time employment." The idea seems to be then that each parent should have the choice of working additional hours through overtime or at a second job without increasing the child support award. However, as explained below, sometimes this is not the case.

A clever and somewhat promising argument for attributing overtime and second job income into a parties gross total is that if that or those overtime and/or second job income is or has been historically earned from a regular schedule and is anticipated to continue much the same in the future, then the court may consider those amounts as actual income earned even though the adjusted amount would be greater than would have been earned by standard full time employment.

If you find yourself in a child support case in Arizona and overtime and/or second job income is apparent, it is strongly suggested that you meet with an experienced family law attorney. By meeting with an experienced family law attorney versed on the subject you may be able to better present reasons to the court why a standard income figure should be increased to include monies received from overtime and/or a second job.