Imputing Income in Family Law Cases: What You Need to Know

When it comes to determining the appropriate amount of child or spousal support in a family law case, the court will consider a range of factors, including the income of each party. However, what happens when one party is not currently earning an income, but has the potential to earn more? In these situations, the court may decide to impute income to that party in order to calculate an appropriate level of child or spousal support.

In Alberta, the Court of Appeal recently issued an important decision that clarifies many uncertainties associated with imputation of income.

Imputing income is a legal concept used in family law cases to assign income to a party, even if they are not actually earning that income. This can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, a court may impute income to a parent who is not currently working, but who has the education, skills, work experience, and job opportunities to earn a certain income. In this case, the court may determine that the parent should be earning that income and use it to calculate the appropriate amount of child or spousal support.

Another reason why imputing income may be appropriate is if a party is intentionally earning less than they are capable of in order to avoid paying a higher amount of support. For example, if a parent quits their job or takes a lower-paying job in order to reduce their income and lower their child support payments, the court may impute income based on what the parent could be earning if they were working to their full potential.

It’s important to note that imputing income is not always appropriate or necessary in every case. The decision to impute income should be based on the specific circumstances of the case, and the court will consider a range of factors when making this decision. For example, the court may look at the age and health of the parties, their education and work experience, and the availability of job opportunities in their area.

If you are involved in a family law case and are concerned about the issue of imputing income, it’s important to speak with a family law lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand whether imputing income is appropriate in your case, and can assist you with any legal proceedings related to child or spousal support.

In conclusion, imputation of income is an important concept in family law cases that can have a significant impact on the amount of support that a party is required to pay. If you have questions about imputing income or any other aspect of family law, don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified lawyer for guidance and support.

Written by Gary Kirk

Related Posts: