If you are in a situation where you are separating from your spouse and they are not earning the income that you believe that they could be earning, you are not entitled to insist that they get a job or find alternative employment, but you may be able to impute income to your spouse. Depending on whether or not you are the “payor” or the “recipient”, the amount of support you may be obligated to pay or entitled to receive by way of child support and/or spousal support payments paid could decrease or increase.
The Federal Child Support Guidelines allows income to be imputed to a spouse where the income claimed on an income tax return is not truly reflective of the actual amount of income that the spouse received. Items such as rental losses, farming losses and the deduction of expenses that are not “fair” may be disallowed, thereby increasing a spouse’s reported income for support purposes.
In addition, there may be situations where a spouse has refused to find any type of employment and has very little or no income whatsoever. In that situation, if the spouse can be said to be deliberately unemployed or underemployed with the intent of avoiding the payment of support, then income equivalent to what he/she could be earning may be imputed to the spouse.
If you are in a situation where your Guideline Income or the Guideline Income of your former spouse is in question, please contact one of the lawyers at Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP for advice or representation.
Article written by Laurie Stephen