My wife has been putting off finding a full-time job until our divorce is complete.
She holds two different master’s degrees in education. Shouldn’t this be considered as potential income when calculating maintenance?
While I am not licensed to practice law in your state, I can give some general guidance on this issue.
Depending on the circumstances, you can request the court impute income to your wife. That means that, when calculating support, the court will treat her income as what she should potentially be earning.
If a court determines that a parent is unemployed, underemployed or earning less than what he or she was previously earning to avoid child support payments, the court can impute a certain amount of additional income to that parent.
In many states, when imputing income, the court takes into account certain factors such as:
a) the reason and intent for the voluntary underemployment or unemployment
b) what the employment status and earning capacity of that parent would have been if the family had remained intact
c) the availability of other assets that may be used to pay support
d) the ages of any children in the parent’s household and child-care alternatives
As far as debt, you need to find out if your state is an equitable distribution state. What that means is that the marital property, which includes debt, will be divided between spouses in a way that is equitable, or fair.
The court decides what is fair based on a set of factors designed to show how the spouses contributed to the marriage and what each spouse will need to move forward after divorce. The division does not have to be equal.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.