When the phrase “imputed income” is mentioned, the first image that comes to many people’s minds is the media stereotype of the deadbeat dad. They picture a man who refuses to seek work or who only takes jobs that pay under the table. The stereotypical deadbeat dad is someone who cares more about avoiding paying child support than about the wellbeing of his children. His pride will not allow him to let the court tell him how to spend his money, no matter how much or how little of it he has. He lets his bitterness toward his ex-wife cloud his judgment, so the court decides how much he should be earning and forces him to pay, setting in motion a cycle of bitterness and unfulfilled obligations.
Regardless of the fact that there are far fewer true deadbeat dads in real life than there are in the popular imagination, child support obligations are not the only reason that Florida’s family courts make decisions based on someone’s imputed income. The Koscher v. Koscher case involves the divorce of a wealthy couple who did not have minor children at the time of the divorce. Instead, the judge relied on imputed income purely to determine alimony payments.
What is Imputed Income?
In short, imputed income is estimated potential income. When a supporting spouse (or a parent paying child support) is earning an income, the courts base the amount of support payments on the income amount. If the court determines that the person is voluntarily unemployed or intentionally earning less money than he or she could, the court bases the support payments on what the person should be earning based on his or her previous work experience and previous income amounts.
The Koscher v. Koscher Case
At the time of their divorce, Daniel and Marcie Koscher had been married for 30 years and had two adult children. Marcie had been unable to work throughout their marriage because of chronic health problems, and both spouses agreed that she should receive permanent alimony. Where they disagreed was on the amount of alimony. At the time of the divorce, Daniel was receiving severance pay from a job that had laid him off. Instead of looking for another job, he tried to start his own company, but it did not become profitable. Three years after the divorce, the court ordered him to increase his support payments, and it based the amount on an imputed income of $850,000 per year. (During the last years of the marriage before being laid off, Daniel’s income had ranged from $450,000 to more than a million.) The court decided that Daniel was voluntarily unemployed and that three years was plenty of time for him to find a new job.
Contact Alan Burton About Imputed Income Cases
Decisions involving what someone “should” earn are always fairly subjective and not set in stone. Contact Alan R. Burton in Boca Raton, Florida, if you think the court has imputed too much income to you or too little income to your former spouse.