How Will My Bonus Be Divided Upon Divorce in Texas?
Whether your bonus is considered your own separate property or a part of the marital estate depends on the nature and reason for that bonus. In Texas, a bonus which is paid to you in exchange for work that was completed during the marriage, then that bonus is treated as community property. Even if the bonus is issued after the date of divorce, it can be claimed as community property if it is paid out in exchange for work that was performed while the marriage was intact. A year-end bonus, for example, may not be paid out until January. If the divorce is finalized in December, that bonus could still be subject to consideration as community property because it is being paid out for work that was performed prior to the dissolution of the marriage.
On the other hand, a bonus that is contingent solely on future work, which will be performed entirely after divorce, is considered to be your own separate property. An example of this would be a signing bonus which is paid out subject to the employee’s agreement to work for a fixed amount of time, on the condition that the bonus must be paid back if they do not remain employed for the agreed-upon term. In that case, the bonus in question is conditioned on work that has yet to be completed.
Will my spouse’s bonus be considered when the court determines child support?
Yes. Under the Texas Family Code, child support obligations are based on the “net resources” which are available to a party for the purpose of paying child support. Section 154.062 provides a framework for calculating a party’s net resources. The language of the code clearly states that “100 percent of all wage and salary income and other compensation for personal services (including commissions, overtime pay, tips, and bonuses)” should be factored into the determination of a party’s child support obligation.
Will my spouse’s bonus be considered in the court’s calculation of spousal maintenance?
Yes. Section 8.055 of the Texas Family Code establishes an upper limit for the amount of money that a court can order a party to pay as spousal maintenance. That limit is defined as “the lesser of $5,000 or 20 percent of the spouse's average monthly gross income.” The code considers “monthly gross income” to include “100 percent of all wage and salary income… (including… bonuses)." Should the court decide to use your spouse’s average monthly gross income as the basis for calculating spousal maintenance, your spouse’s bonus will be included in that calculation.
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