Child support and spousal support are two big pieces of many family law cases. Child support helps to balance the spending power of each parent towards the children, while spousal support helps to balance the income the parties were accustomed to during marriage. In both of these calculations, the income of each party is one of the most important factors in determining the amount of support.
So, one might think it would be a great idea to temporarily lower their income to pay less money in support. If you are self-employed, you might take less jobs during the months leading up to the support calculations. If you typically work a lot of overtime, you might hold back until support has been ordered. You might also consider quitting your job or not looking for work until support is in place. While these sound like good strategies, the Court has a way to work around these tactics. The Court may impute an income to you that is different than your actual income. So, by looking at your ability to work and the opportunities available for you to work, the Court may assign you a higher income for the purposes of calculating support. Your work experience, education, and job availability will steer the Court to create your imputed income, which could end up being higher than what your actual income would be. So, it may not actually be wise to try to hide and disguise your income, as the outcome may be worse for you.
Maria E. Crabtree, CFLS