Family Court Math: Why Getting Paid Every Other Week is Not Twice a Month

Family Court Math: Why Getting Paid Every Other Week is Not Twice a Month

By M. J. Goodwin

I have written before about the importance of Financial Declarations in Family Court. It is absolutely crucial that the numbers be accurate. One of the most common errors I see is an inaccurate reporting of income based on a mathematical error.

Many people are paid every other week. To the minds of many, that means they are paid twice a month. However, this is not accurate. If one is paid every other week, then one is paid 26 times per year.   Consider this: using $2000 as an example for a pay check, if one is paid every other week, one earns $4333.33 per month, not $4000 per month. The math is done as follows: $2000 pay check times 26 payments per year divided by 12 (months per year)=$4333.33.

To summarize, because some months are longer than others, the proper way to compute the income, for a worker paid every other week, is as follows: Gross pay amount times 26 divided by 12 equals monthly gross income.

The confusion and strong emotions evoked by the math are sometimes overwhelming to the parties. I believe this is because the additional income is not perceived by the parties. The person who makes $2000 every other week may not realize that is $52,000 per year instead of $48,000 per year. The difference in child support, whether paying or receiving, may be upsetting to the parties. Many times, parties come to me having already consulted one of the online child support calculators. These clients have an amount in their mind of what they believe support should be. They are often surprised if they have made a math error in their gross income. Such an error usually also translates to a similar error in health insurance costs. The end result of the math error is that the child support calculation is wrong.

However, if a person is truly paid twice a month (typically the 1st and 15th day of the month), then it is accurate to simply multiply the gross paycheck by 2 in order to get a monthly income.

If you need assistance with a Family Court matter in Upstate South Carolina, please don’t hesitate to contact me at: mj@mjgoodwin.com Email inquiries are typically answered within 12 hours.

 

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One comment

  • Gregory Forman

    I was trying to explain this to a client just last week. To illustrate why she couldn’t simply multiply by four to covert a weekly expense into a monthly expense, I asked her, “how many weeks in a year?”

    “53? 54?,” she answered.

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