Under certain circumstances, the court may base support upon a party's earning potential and not their actual income. This is called imputation of Income.
Financial Duty of each parent
Each parent has a duty to support themselves nd their minor children to the best of their ability. When calculating support, the court uses the actual income of the parties. However, where one or both parents are not working the court has the ability to impute income to the non-working or under employed party.
Imputing Income to a Party
When a court imputes income, the court simply finds that a party has the ability to make money. When calculating support, the court uses the earning power of the party, rather than that party's actual income.
Definition of Imputation
Imputation of income is the finding that a party can make more money than they are actually making. When a court imputes income, the court simply finds that a party has the ability to make money. When calculating support, the court uses the earning power of the party, rather than that party's actual income.
Ability to Earn Minimum Wage
The easiest is for the court to impute income to a party is to request a finding that the party is capable of earning minimum wage. This is done almost automatically. Y the courts.nhowever, if one party has been a stay-at- home spouse for most of the marriage or a party was recently laid off the courts will generally give that party a grace period before finding they have the ability to work.
Ability to Earn More than Minimum Wage
The court may also make the finding that a party is capable of making. Ore than minimum wage. There are two different ways of proving ts ability. First, the court make appoint a vocational evaluator to assess the job market and the skills of hoe unemployed party. The expert would then make a written opinion off the earning ability of the party. The court can then adopt the expert's report as a finding. Second, the court can receive into evidence the unemployed person's resume and want ads featuring jobs within that party's skill set. The court can make a finding of earning ability based upon the salary featured in the ads.