One of the hardest things that a family law judge must decide is how to impute income. Imputing income is legalese for deciding how much income each party in a divorce case has and how much they are expected to make in the future. This information is used to decide fair amounts of spousal maintenance, child support, and other financial decision in a case.
The courts have wide discretion in how they make their decisions. The National Law Review discussed a case in New Jersey where the courts that demonstrates this. The wife in the divorce had recently received training to become a medical assistant. Courts will often use Department of Labor statistics to determine average incomes for a position for the purpose of imputing income, but the court decided that it was unfair to say that a newly-trained medical assistance could immediately reach the average. They gave the woman a four month grace period to make a documented search for a job in her field, at the end of which they’d revisit the issue. In the meantime, they assigned a lower level of imputed income from her part-time earnings.
Finding a solution that fits the reality of the situation while remaining fair is the challenge. A good lawyer on your side can help you state your case in front of the judge. Don’t stand up in family court alone. Have an experienced family lawyer on your side. If you live in Washington, call Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC. We’ll stand with you.