Blog

What does imputation of income mean?

 

In a New Jersey divorce, it is crucial to know the income of both parties.  It is equally important to know what each is capable of earning. The income of the parties must be known in order to resolve issues like alimony and child support. In many divorces, however, the income-producing spouse suddenly acquires RAIDS (Recently Acquired Income Deficiency Syndrome).  This spouse argues his/her income is below what it was during the course of the marriage.  This results in the argument that the support obligation should be less. Sometimes the reason for the decline is legitimate. Sometimes it is not. It is vital to assess whether or not there is just cause for the voluntary unemployment or underemployment.  Does there need to be an imputation of income?

4 Key Factors

Our law provides that the court must analyze four factors in making this assessment:

  1. The employment and earning capacity of that party had the family remained intact.
  2. The reasons and intent behind the voluntary underemployment or unemployment.
  3. The ages of the children in the parent’s household as well as child care alternatives.
  4. The extent other assets are available to pay support.

Once the aforementioned factors are considered and applied to the facts of a particular case, a determination can be made as to whether or not a party is underemployed or unemployed.

Imputation of Income

When determined that they are either underemployed or unemployed, the next step is to impute an income to that party. Imputation of income means that a rate of income is fixed for a party regardless of his or her current circumstance. To impute income to an underemployed or unemployed party, the first places to look for the amount of income are the New Jersey Department of Labor, Compendium of Wages and the party’s most recent wage history, such as a pay check or Social Security earnings history statement. At a minimum, one may have a minimum wage imputed to them. In some cases, employability experts are hired to perform a detailed evaluation of the party’s ability and capability to earn and an expert opinion is offered as to the amount of income that should be imputed.

Once income is known, agreed upon or imputed, the parties can move forward and discuss support and other financial considerations relevant to their case and hopefully resolve all issues in their divorce amicably and efficiently.

Please contact me at jlawrence@lawlawfirm.com if you have questions about this post or any other family law matter.

Subscribe to Our Blog

SHARE THIS POST:

Related Posts

Blog
Is January Really “Divorce Month?”

“Divorce Month” Fact or Fiction: Do More Couples Split in January? was a recent article that I came across in the New York Times. The article discusses the belief that January is the busiest month of the year for divorce filings. The article’s information is consistent with my experiences after practicing family law for many…

Read More
Blog
One Year!

One year into owning and running my own firm has been exhilarating, amazing, exhausting with a million other emotions in between. When the news was first announced, many of my friends, who are also solo and small firm owners, reached out to me to try and prepare me for the wild ride I was about…

Read More
Blog
Divorce Consultations – Are You Prepared?

I spend a significant of my day providing initial divorce consultations. This is the most important time I will spend with a potential client. In these consultations, many of the people that come see me are understandably emotional and focused on the part of the relationship that led them to my office. More often than…

Read More
Blog
Divorce Issues for New Jersey and Federal Government Officials

For many of us, the first time that we heard of family issues affecting government officials started with the philandering of President Clinton. These days, the media feeds us the personal and private affairs of former Congresswoman Katie Hill and former FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, among others. Going through a divorce is a stressful time…

Read More
Blog
Divorcing Police Officers Face Unique Parenting Time Issues

Divorcing police officers and firefighters, like other clients, face a multitude of issues.  For most parties, the paramount concern is custody and parenting time when there are children born of the marriage. For most parents who work “9 to 5” jobs, there will be a traditional custody and parenting time arrangement.  This agreement is either…

Read More
Blog
Private School Costs in New Jersey Divorces

In a New Jersey case where the parties’ agreement calls for them to “equally divide…school costs,” and one party does not contribute to the costs for years, even though not explicitly asked to do so, a court can enforce the agreement and compel contribution. In the unpublished Appellate Division case of Fanelli v. Hnatowski, the…

Read More
Call Now ButtonCall Us