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Imputed Income Isn’t Just For Stay-At-Home Parents And Aspiring Entrepreneurs

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Even in the simplest divorce cases, both parties must disclose to the court how much income they earn, in addition to providing disclosures about their assets, debts, and expenses.  Usually, the court bases its decisions about alimony and child support awards on how much each party earns from work and other income streams such as rental properties and investments.  If one spouse is able to work but chooses not to, or works limited hours or at a low-paying job for reasons unrelated to family caregiving obligations, the court may impute income to that spouse.  This means that, if you voluntarily left your job simply because you were unhappy there and are currently unemployed, the court can base its child support order on the assumption that you can and should earn the amount of money that you used to earn at your previous job.  Imputed income can be a touchy subject, because how much a person should work and how much they should get paid is a subjective judgment, even if you have documents and the testimony of vocational experts to support your position.  A Boca Raton child custody lawyer can help you persuade the court to issue a child support order that reflects your real financial situation instead of a hypothetical one.

When Mom Works the Gig Economy and Dad Is Between Jobs

When Kurtis and Kim divorced, their three children were minors.  Kurtis had a full-time job when the parties separated and divorced, but he was laid off from his job around the time the divorce was finalized.  Kim was working as a substitute teacher, in addition to two other part-time jobs with variable hours.  After the divorce, Kurtis was unable to find a new job quickly, and he borrowed money from his parents on several occasions in order to fulfil his child support obligations.

Kurtis petitioned the court to modify the child support order, reducing his obligations, which parents have the right to do in the event of an unanticipated, involuntary, and permanent change in their financial circumstances.  Kurtis and Kim disagreed about whether the change in circumstances was unanticipated.  She said that he found out that he was being laid off the day before the parties signed their marital settlement agreement (MSA), but he said that he found out several weeks after signing the MSA.  The court did not agree to reduce Kurtis’ child support obligations, because even though he had not found a new job, he had a reliable income stream in the form of loans from his parents, and because Kim’s financial need had increased, since the school was giving her fewer hours as a substitute teacher.

Contact Our Attorneys for Help

These are tough economic times for everyone.  A child support lawyer can help you if neither you nor your ex-spouse has the reliable income you had when you were married.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.

Resource:

scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3453968529644327928&q=divorce+teacher&hl=en&as_sdt=4,10&as_ylo=2011&as_yhi=2021

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