New Jersey Imputed Income and Child Support
Imputed income is a monetary figure that is attributed to a parent during child support proceedings. Imputing income to one parent is often a way to satisfy what is in the best interest of the child so that their needs are met. By holding one parent to the standard of imputed income, that parent still bears responsibility for supporting their child.
Understanding Imputing Income
Imputed income is a monetary figure ascribed or assigned to one party. It is a calculation of a parent’s earnings, even if they are not actually earning that money. In terms of child support, the income imputed to one parent allows the court to determine appropriate child support payments.
Income may be imputed for a variety of reasons, but it is often used in instances where an individual’s income is fluctuating or has recently changed due to economic and other impacts.
If one parent loses their income, instead of calculating child support with an income of $0, a court may impute income in order to arrive at a child support agreement that meets the child’s needs. The practice is also a method of deterring parents from skipping out on financially supporting their children by becoming voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.
How Does a Judge Determine Imputed Income?
A judge can consider a variety of factors when determining imputed income. If an individual recently lost their job, the earnings of another individual in the same field may be used to calculate a parent’s income. Considering a parent’s marketable skillset, prior work, or most recent income can also be taken into consideration.
In some instances, a judge may assign imputed income based on the minimum wage and a 40-hour workweek as well.
Protecting Your Children’s Interests
In some cases, a parent might intentionally reduce their income or switch jobs so that they only have to pay a reduced amount of child support. In cases like this, voicing your concerns may bring about conversations regarding imputed income.
On the flip side, not all parents who are credited with imputed income are trying to dodge financial responsibility. In cases where there has been a loss of income due to economic hardship or termination from a job, heightened levels of stress may follow and cause more harm than good.
It may feel daunting to be held to imputed income that you’re not actually earning. And it can be challenging for a parent who’s already struggling to make payments based on a non-existent income. In cases like this, voicing your concerns is the best way to move forward during child support proceedings.
Seeking Legal Guidance
As with all child support proceedings, what is in the best interest of the child should always take center stage. If you have concerns about imputed income and how it is impacting child support payments, get in touch with an experienced family lawyer. At the Law Offices of John B. D’Alessandro, our dedicated team can help you navigate your case so that you are getting the representation you deserve to best meet the needs of your child.