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How to split the Christmas bonus with your ex?

I am sorry to hear about your recent separation. At the same time, I would like to congratulate you on being a good father and a caring partner.  Most people would not even have started paying the alimony and child support until the court had ordered them.  I can also see that your wife has probably focused on her family life, thus allowing you to earn so much more than her.  That is why she might be feeling entitled to half of your bonus.

On the topic of the Christmas bonus, it depends on your state.  Some states require the couple to wait till the divorce is final.  When the divorce is final, all the money will be split, including the Christmas bonus.   Other states separate finances from the day the couple has filed for a legal separation or a divorce.  In your situation, you have the following options:


1. No Sharing Till Divorce / Separation
Tell your partner that you will share the bonus when the divorce/separation is final.  You can say that your attorney has advised you to let the judge make a final decision.


2. Share 50/50
You can be generous as you already are and share the half with her.  But make sure that you get a receipt from her for the bonus and file it in the court so that you don't get double dinged.  As a matter of fact, you should ask her for receipts for all the monies you have paid her since separation. You should also keep all the bank records.  This will be favorable to you in the family court.


3. Share A Smaller Portion
You can give her a smaller percentage e.g. 10%-20% and tell her to wait for the rest till the divorce/separation is final.  The rule around keeping bank records and asking her for a receipt applies to this situation as well.


4. Set Up A 529 Plan For College Education
You can tell her that you would like the bonus money to go towards kids' education.  If she agrees then document the agreement and both of you should sign it in front of a notary.  Keep all the records and open state-approved 529 plans for each of your children.

Regardless of what option you decide to pursue, make sure to consult your attorney.  As a higher earner, you are already at a disadvantage.  You do not want to get things worse for you financially.



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Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

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