How Can the Court Find That My Income for Child Support Is More than I Actually Earn?

How Can the Court Find That My Income for Child Support Is More than I Actually Earn?

How Can the Court Find That My Income for Child Support Is More than I Actually Earn?

Thinking of taking a lower paying job or leaving your job to attempt to avoid child support? Think again. The Court does not just look at your current income on your pay stub or recent W-2 statement. The Court digs deeper than that. How much child support you owe depends on a parent’s ability to provide support, rather than looking at strict income numbers. A Judge or Support Magistrate has the power to find a parent’s income is higher than it actually is, a concept known as “income imputation.”

Under the Child Support Standards Act, a Judge or Support Magistrate has the authority to impute income to a parent when he or she reduces resources or income to avoid paying child support. This law aligns with the public policy in New York State that children need adequate financial support to survive. It is often stated that rasing children living in two households is more costly than raising children living in one.

A Judge or Support Magistrate can also impute income based on a parent’s prior employment experience, earning capacity, and/or other accessible financial resources. Take, for example, a 35-year-old physician earning $100,000 who decides that his real passion is becoming a freelance writer after he divorces his wife, with whom he has 3 small children. At the time the child support action is commenced, the physician is earning only $20,000 per year as a freelance writer. In such a circumstance, the Court has the ability to impute income based on the physician’s educational background, work experience, and capacity to earn more as a medical doctor. It must be emphasized that whether the Court imputes income depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. Consult with an attorney at Levene Gouldin & Thompson for sounds advice regarding how the financial circumstances of your case will affect an obligation to pay child support.

Ways to Ensure Adequate Financial Protection After your Divorce

Not only is divorce a test of your emotional and psychological strength, it makes each spouse realize that he/she will not have the other to lean on for financial support. Finances are stressors in just about every marriage, but it may seem to be an insurmountable task to get your finances in order after a divorce. Some tips that you might consider following while your divorce is pending to lessen the potential for financial hardship after the divorce is over include always keeping some liquid funds in an account for emergencies, if possible (who knows, your furnace might blow and the court may require you to pay all of the expenses associated with the marital home while your divorce is pending), compute a monthly budget and try your best to stick with it (if you take the time to organize and plan out your budget, you may be more likely to stick to it), consider cost-saving measures such as downsizing or refinancing your home, trading your brand new car in for a used one, consider finding a higher paying job, spend your money only on necessary items, meet with a financial planner, and save as much of your paycheck as possible. Give yourself one item that you may want to purchase after your divorce is finalized and then think about that item any time you want to make an impulsive purchase.

These tips are only illustrative examples of what you might consider doing to help with the financial transition from being married to single. Of course, divorce is not a one-size-fits all situation. Consult with a matrimonial attorney at Levene Gouldin & Thompson for experienced assistance during your divorce or separation.

Connect With Us