Parents who receive uncertain or variable income such as commissions, bonuses or self-employment income generally fear that they will have to pay child or spousal support that exceeds their monthly income. California law permits the court to make an Ostler-Smith support order (which is a holding from the case entitled In re Marriage of Ostler and Smith) which require a parent to pay a monthly base child support amount and an additional amount of support based upon any extra income the parent may receive from their employment or other sources. The Ostler-Smith order can be used to calculate additional support from various sources of income such as cash bonuses or stock options.
For instance, in a case of a father who earns a $2,000.00 per month who is eligible to receive bonuses or commissions of $10,000.00 per year, the father would be eligible for an Ostler-Smith order. Under the circumstances, the father will only have to pay monthly support based upon his $2,000.00 monthly income if his receipt of bonuses or commissions cannot be predicted with certainty. If and when the father receives his bonus or commission, he will have to pay the mother additional support based upon a percentage of the gross amount of his bonus/commission.
An Ostler-Smith order can also be used to calculate additional spousal support payment. For questions regarding an Ostler-Smith order, please contact our family law attorney at (310) 212-7109.
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