Overland Park Divorce Attorney: Can my spouse make less money on purpose to lower support payments?
When the courts determine an appropriate child support or spousal support number, they typically derive that number from both spouses' incomes. In certain situations, an imputation of income from one spouse or the other is appropriate. For example, if you have a spouse that has historically earned $100,000 on average for the past 5 years of marriage and upon filing for divorce, he or she decides to quit their job and become a substitute teacher making $25,000 a year, then you can ask the Court to look at their historical earning capacity. This may be a situation where it is appropriate for the Court to impute $100,000 income for that party regardless of his or her actual current income because they are able to earn more. The courts will impute income if they believe a party is purposely underemployed for the purposes of lowering child support or spousal support. This issue has also been raised in COVID-19 if a party has been laid off or furloughed and the paying party chooses to take a lower paying job to avoid a higher child support or spousal support award.