Here The Factors Courts Consider When Imputing Income During A Divorce

Posted on: 1 October 2018


Divorce courts don't always rely on actual income when coming up with spousal or child support figures. If the court suspects that a spouse is underemployed or earning less than what they should be earning, and they don't have a good reason for the disparity, then it may impute the spouse's income. An imputed income is one that the court thinks the spouse should be getting as opposed to the reported income. Here are some of the factors courts consider when determining imputed income:

Earning History

Your partner's earning history is one of the main factors that the court will use to determine imputed income. Therefore, if the person had been earning six-figure salaries all along but then suddenly claims minimum wage earnings, the court may base their child support calculations on the historical earnings. The assumption here is that your partner is capable of earning the six-figure salaries should they wish and make an effort to do so.

Employment History

Your partner's employment history is also another factor the court will consider. Here, the court will consider whether your partner has ever been out of a job before as well as the types of jobs they have held. Someone who has always held professional jobs and has never been out of work, for instance, may be viewed to be voluntarily underemployed if they suddenly take up menial jobs.

Incomes of Other People with Similar Education And Experience 

The divorce court judge will also factor in the average incomes of other people with comparable education and experience. For example, if your partner is a geologist with seven years experience, then the court will assess the salaries or incomes of other geologists in the area with similar experience. The court will then impute your partner's income if their reported earning is way below what others are earning.

Current Employment Opportunities

The law recognizes that there are cases where a person with a history of solid employment opportunities and good salaries can experience a decline in financial fortunes. This can happen, for example, if the economy has weakened or the industry in which the person has experience is weakening. For this reason, the court will consider the available employment opportunities before calculating the imputed income.

Work Hours

Lastly, the court will also consider how many hours your partner is working every week. This is because some people try to minimize their support obligations by reducing their working hours. Therefore, the court will impute your partner's income if they are only working a few hours per week without a good reason for the same.

As you can see, you don't have to suffer in silence if your partner decides to underreport their income or get underemployed to avoid paying support. Through your divorce lawyer, you can get the court to impute your partner's income so that you get what you are entitled to. Contact an alimony lawyer for help today.