Imputing Income for Child Support

Westchester County Child Support Lawyers

As child support lawyers we represent both custodial and non-custodial parents. The subject of this article is imputation of income for child support purposes.

Typically, child support calculations in New York State are made pursuant to the statutory Child Support Standards Act (CSSA) guidelines. In setting child support there may be a basis to "cap" the child support payments according to income or deviate from the child support guidelines.

In some situations a non-custodial parent hides income in order to pay less child support. This is usually done by hiding cash income, remaining unemployed, quitting a job or taking other steps to minimize earning potential.

How to Impute Income

The New York Family Courts will review financial information carefully to determine if income should be imputed. As child support lawyers, we demand financial disclosure, issue subpoenas, call witnesses to testify and use other discovery methods to determine the true income of the non-custodial parent.

The first, and the most obvious way to argue to the New York Family Court to impute income, is to do an expense/income analysis. For example, a non-custodial parent cannot cry poverty while they are driving around in an expensive car or have just taken a vacation.

Next an inquiry has to be made into what could or should the non-custodial parent be earning based upon previous earnings and/or earning potential. The Family Court will consider it strange if a non-custodial parent claims to earn $50,000.00 a year when for the past two years their earnings have been $100,000.00 per year. This is a "red flag" for our child support attorneys and for the Courts. Likewise, if a non-custodial parent has a master degree but claims they can only work in a lower paying job will also be a "red flag" for our attorneys and the Courts.

As child support lawyers we look to these factors and other factors to prove to the Court that additional income should be imputed.

When Will Income Not Be Imputed?

Obviously, income will not be imputed if you are not properly prepared for Court or make illogical arguments.

The Court will also not impute income if there is a legitimate reason why a non-custodial parent is not earning to their full potential, such as an injury or other documented disability. The Courts will also not impute income if a non-custodial parent has been fired or laid off due to no fault of their own and cannot find employment. If the non-custodial parent is not working the Family Court generally holds the parent to a high burden to prove they cannot find employment. The logic behind this high burden is that children are entitled to financial support from their parents. General claims of an inability to find employment without substantial supporting documentation are rarely considered.

Westchester County Family Court Lawyers

For example, recently, the child support lawyers at Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP convinced a White Plains Support Magistrate that the non-custodial parent's income should be imputed when it was found that the non-custodial parent was deferring a regular bonus from his employer to avoid a higher income. Luckily for the custodial parent we were able to subpoena records and our lawyers told our client to search for documents as to previously paid bonuses.

Preparation is very important in any case especially a case where income needs to be imputed. With preparation and investigation a proper amount of child support can be calculated.

In New York State both parents are required to submit to the Court and exchange basic financial documents. This includes a financial disclosure affidavit, paystubs and tax returns. This is the foundation for imputing income.

Westchester County Child Support Lawyers

If you or a loved one is part of a child support case call our Family Law Lawyers today for a free initial consultation. We can further explain how income is imputed and work with you for your specific needs.

Our child support attorneys regularly appear in the Family Courts of Westchester County and the surrounding counties. We have the experience to fight for your rights before any Support Magistrate or Family Court Judge.

Call our office today.

We can be reached by e-mail or telephone. Call today for your free consultation. (914) 946-4808.