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You Can’t Base an Imputed Income Amount on Wishful Thinking


No one likes to hear someone say, “You could make so much money if only you would do X, Y, and Z.”  Coming from a party guest, especially one that you do not know very well, you can easily chalk it up to infelicitous small talk.  Between spouses, though, this topic of conversation amounts to fighting words.  Plenty of people resent their spouses’ career decisions, but there is an unwritten rule that supporting your spouse in his or her pursuit of professional goals, whatever those goals might be, is an implicit marriage vow.  Some people even cite constant pressure from their spouses to earn more money at any cost as one of the factors that made them decide to divorce.  Unfortunately, the conflict about what constitutes an adequate income and the lengths you should go to in order to get it does not always end as soon as your divorce becomes final.  If your ex-spouse can persuade the court that you are voluntarily underemployed, the court will impute income to you and base its decisions on alimony, child support, and division of marital property on this amount.  Imputed income is when the court decides how much money you should make.  Calculating imputed income is an inexact science, to say the least, and there is plenty of room for disagreement, even before either spouse calls in the vocational experts to testify.  If your ex-spouse thinks that money grows on trees and that the court should order you to harvest it, contact a Boca Raton divorce lawyer.

When You and Your Ex-Spouse Disagree About the Labor Market

A divorced father had earned a six-figure annual salary in the restaurant industry during his marriage to his first wife, both as an employee of someone else’s restaurant and as the owner of his own.  After the divorce, the man remarried, and he and his second wife wished for a quieter life, so they sold the restaurant and moved to Panama City, where they opened a coffee shop.  Several years after the divorce, the former couple disagreed about how much money the man should pay.  His ex-wife insisted that he could still earn $100,000 per year if he operated a restaurant in Miami or another of Florida’s most expensive commercial centers.  The ex-husband asked the court not to base his income on that amount.

The court sided with the ex-husband and did not increase his alimony amount.  “If you moved to Miami” is a big “if” when you live in Panama City, all the way on the other side of Florida.  Finding a job that pays as much as other people think you can earn is never as easy as it sounds, and judges understand this, especially when you show them compelling evidence.

Contact Schwartz | White About Living a Quiet Life After Divorce

A South Florida family law attorney can help you if your ex-spouse’s materialistic mindset is leading to conflict about your finances, even though you got divorced years ago.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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