March 31, 2015
Because of the financial situation in the job market, many individuals have changed jobs and even careers in the past few years. The employment change almost always impacts child support calculation.
What options are available to the Court? The court has the option to impute income – this simply means that a court can treat a person as having more income than he or she actually earns at that moment. It is often used to make sure that a party does not stay unemployed to avoid paying child support . However, the Court can also impute additional income to a party that is employed.
Before the Court can impute income, it looks to see whether the party is attempting to evade paying child support, or has not taken advantage of an employment opportunity. For example, if you turn down a job offer that is in your field, the court may determined that you have unreasonably failed to take advantage of an opportunity. Another example is if you switch careers, and take a significant pay cut.
If the Court determines that income should be imputed, the next question is how much? In many circumstances, the court will impute income equal to the amount the person would be capable of earning given his or her set of skills, education, and experience. One indicator the courts look to is the past history of earnings. So if an employed party changes careers in bad faith, the court may impute income, and order that the party pay support at a higher level than he or she expected.
So when considering a career change, or if you have lost your job, you should be aware of all the variables, and how it affects your child support calculation. After all, your employment affects not only you, but your children as well.
March 17, 2015
When your ex spouse or significant other and you enter into an agreement regarding custody and visitation, what do you do when your ex decides not to follow it?
Is it worth it to call your attorney? You may try to work it out between yourselves, or wonder if your attorney can contact your ex’s attorney. This approach may work if the violation of the agreement is more of a misunderstanding or a misinterpretation of the agreement. For example: the agreement says visitation with mother the first weekend of the month from Friday after school to Monday morning. But in this month, March 1 was a Sunday. So does the first weekend of March count as February 27-March 2, or March 6-March 9? This type of misinterpretation can likely be worked out between counsel or between the parties.
However, if the breach of the agreement is more serious – such as refusing to allow visitation on a holiday, or not paying child support, then you may have to resort to filing something in court. First, your attorney will contact the other side and demand that the violations cease. With a child support issue, your attorney can ask that your ex cure the breach. If the violation is not cured, and/or keeps occurring, then you may be forced to go to court to get relief.
The Court has various options when one party is not following the agreement. The Judge may just decide to make the other party comply by coming back to court for status hearings. If the behavior is egregious enough, the Court may decide that jail time is a necessary punishment.
So if your ex is not following your agreement or the court order, you should explore all your options to make sure you are protected, as well as your family.