By Daniel Exner
Mens Divorce Lawyer, Cordell & Cordell
Being unemployed and facing child support payments is a scary proposition. It gets even more daunting when courts impute income to an out-of-work father.
In child support cases, many jurisdictions allow the court to impute income to a party who makes a voluntary and unreasonable decision regarding his or her employment.
The term is called “shirking” and the question is whether the decision to not return to the workplace is reasonable.
The general rule is that a parent remains obligated to make reasonable choices that will not deprive his or her children of the support to which they are entitled.
If imputing income is available, a divorce lawyer will have many questions to determine whether the circumstances of a case present a shirking argument.
Say, for example, you shut down a small business you owned right after the filing for divorce. Then an attorney would specifically want to know the background of your business, your earnings over the last several years, why you decided to close your business and your plan, if applicable, for obtaining comparable work.
How Much Should You Be Paying:
Of the states that impute income to a parent, jurisdictions also vary as to the amount of income that is imputed. Some jurisdictions determine whether a party is capable of work, and if so, the court will impute minimum wage and determine the number of hours a party is available for work per week.
Some jurisdictions impute to earning capacity or earning potential. Often times a vocational evaluation must be performed by a vocational expert to determine the earning capacity of a party.
However, some courts have recently been reluctant to impute income to earning capacity given the present economy and lack of jobs available.
If you would like legal advice on divorce or help calculating child support, Cordell & Cordell has mens divorce lawyers located nationwide. To schedule an appointment with one, including Daniel Exner, a Staff Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.