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Imputation of Income for Calculation of Child Support

| Oct 24, 2018 | Child Support | 0 comments

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New Jersey Courts are authorized to impute income for the purpose of determining child support when a parent is found to be voluntarily unemployed or underemployed without cause. See Caplan v. Caplan,182 N.J. 250, 268-70, 864 A.2d 1108 (2005) (stating parent’s ability to earn income, or “his [or her] human capital,” should be “theoretically activated for the purpose of evaluating his [or her] support obligation” and the amount of income that “should be imputed to him [or her]”). “`In treating the matter of support, our courts have always looked beyond the [parent’s] claims of limited resources and economic opportunity. They have gone far to compel a parent to do what in equity and good conscience should be done for [the] children.'” Lynn v. Lynn, 165 N.J.Super. 328, 341, 398 A.2d 141 (App. Div.) (quoting Mowery v. Mowery, 38 N.J.Super. 92, 102, 118 A.2d 49 (App.Div. 1955), certif. denied, 20 N.J. 307, 119 A.2d 791 (1956)), certif. denied, 81 N.J. 52, 404 A.2d 1152 (1979). Thus, a “`court has every right to appraise realistically [a] defendant’s potential earning power,'” ibid. (quoting Mowery, supra, 38 N.J.Super. at 102, 118 A.2d 49), and examine “potential earning capacity” rather than actual income, when imputing the ability to pay support. Halliwell v. Halliwell, 326 N.J.Super. 442, 448, 741 A.2d 638 (App. Div.1999).