Child support and a fair share for each parent is a hot topic in many countries.
Child Support and How to Figure Fair Share for Each of the Parents
In a case of a divorce or separation of parents of a child, either of the parents has the responsibility to collect payments or pay for the support expenses. Different countries have distinct systems dictating the support guidelines which assist the judges and parents to decide the appropriate amount needed for the support.
In certain circumstances, the judge is forced to attribute or impute additional incomes to either of the parents to reach the required amount of support that best meets the needs of the kid. However, there are cases where parents have resorted to intentionally reduce the amount of income they earn in attempts to limit the payments they ought to make in the child support. In such cases, the courts may be obligated to impute incomes to ensure the financial support needed by the child is met.
How Would the Court Calculate the Amount of Child Support Needed?
A number of countries have child support calculators in online platforms, therefore, allowing the parents to determinate the estimated support obligations. The calculators determine the support depending on the amount of income earned by each parent and the number of children that would benefit from the support. Each state hence has its own procedures on what makes up an income. If you are looking for additional information on this issue, drop in on the website go now.
For instance, the salary of one parent, commissions, overtime pay, bonuses, and tips may be considered as his/her total income. The judge reviews the amount of child support and adjusts it if the need arises. Nevertheless, courts have got leeway which they follow to either increase or decrease the child support obligations, especially after the consideration of a number of factors.
Firstly, the court reviews the needs of the child including special needs, medical expenses, and health insurance.
Secondly, it reviews the income of each of the parent and their responsibilities for other children in different relationships. Lastly, the judge has to review the needs of the custodial parent and his/her ability to earn incomes, and the living standards of the child prior to the separation or divorce.
Imputing Support Income
The family courts are quite aware that parents may be burdened by the costs of child support, particularly parents who support two households. However, such parents cannot run away from their financial obligations to offer child support based on the fact that they are facing financial difficulties.
Parents in such conditions must indicate the reduction in income. Despite the fact that some parents reduce their income voluntarily to limit the child support, courts can explore other options which include imputing income. Imputing income deals the deadbeat parents and makes sure that the children obtain the necessary financial care needed for clothing, food, and shelter.
For instance, a judge can decide to attribute or impute income to a deadbeat father or mother who has quit a high-paying job or refused to work to reduce or avoid child support. In that manner, the parent is obligated to pay child support amount based on his/her earning capacity. The earning capacity is determined by evaluating what the parent could earn or was earning as opposed to what he/she is actually making as result of the reduced wages.
In case the current earnings of the parent are not reflected on his/her earning capacity or incomes, the court considers other factors in the calculation of the appropriate potential income amount. These include historical earning in the last five years, vocational training, employment history, available employment opportunities, and reasons for quitting the previous job. The judge evaluates the testimony and evidence submitted in supporting the request of either parent to impute the income.
The factors highlighted above will, therefore, be used by the courts to assign the parents income based on what each of them could be earning. A vocational expert may be hired to testify on what another person with similar expertise and experience should earn. In some cases, parents who have not been in the workforce for an extended period may have a specific wage limit imputed on them.
How Are the Hidden Assets Found?
In case a parent is hiding some assets, it becomes difficult to assess what he/she should be earning. An attorney may propose subpoenaing of the bank records, business records, and pay stubs to uncover the hidden assets. A forensic certified public accountant may be hired. In the case it is determined that the parent has some hidden money, the amount of child support will be calculated based on the actual earnings which shall include even the hidden assets.
The Role of Imputing Income
The aim of the court while imputing the incomes is to make it fair for both of the parents while determining the amount to be contributed. This is because the parents are not able to control the stroke of bad luck or the bad economy.