Two recent imputed income cases discuss the proper amount of imputed income to use when calculating alimony and child support. Both of these imputed income cases were released in June 2012 from the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach.
Imputed Income Cases
In Vitro v Vitro, the court imputed income of $30,000 to the former wife. That had been her started salary at a real estate firm in 2005. She was promoted and received raises and earned $60,000 in 2009 before her employment ended. After the trial ended, she got a job for $15/hour with no benefits or overtime. Mr. Vitro thought his former wife should have looked for management jobs in addition to administrative assistant jobs. The appeals court found that the trial court is in the best position to make the determination of what the proper amount of imputed income was for the wife. There is a good explanation of how the court has to determine imputed income in the decision.
In another Fourth District case on imputed income, Mr. Piedra was charged with imputed income in an amount equal to last year’s gross business profit by the trial court. After describing the process for imputing income, the court decided that it was an error to charge him with the gross profit amount. Any business income, including imputed income, has to be the NET income – income less legitimate business expenses.
The court also noted that the former husband had started a new business with his brother – and it had a similar name to the family business he closed just before the divorce. While claiming no income form the new business, Mr. Piedra took a job as a mechanic for $400/week – about 20% of his former income.
DIY Imputed Income
It can be difficult to present a case involving imputed income when you are representing yourself. This is one case where I definitely recommend having an attorney represent you or at least coach you through the imputed income process. You can see from these new cases that it is not easy, even for attorneys, to present the evidence for imputed income cases.