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Imputed Income Issues

When spouses decide to move through a California divorce, there are two potential issues that could arise regarding financial support.  These issues are spousal support and child support, and there are guidelines provided by California law that help to determine those amounts.  However, there are many situations in which the spouse that’s receiving one type of support or both will not work despite being able to do so, and these situations give rise to the possibility of imputed income.  If you think that your ex-spouse is capable of earning income and is not doing so, you need to seek the help of experienced San Diego men’s rights lawyers.

What Is Imputed Income?

Imputed income is the notion in the law that basically assigns a certain amount of income to a spouse that is not earning very much or no income at all despite the fact that he or she is able to do so.  When this situation arises and the other spouse proves to the court that the other spouse is not working on purpose, the court has the discretion to state that the spouse receiving support would be earning a certain amount if he or she was pursuing employment and income that would be commensurate with the result of applying several different factors.

Earning Capacity

One of the key terms and standards that applies in these situations is earning capacity.  When a spouse moves to impute income on a spouse receiving support, the court will analyze the situation of the spouse receiving that support to obtain an idea of what he or she would be earning if that spouse was making a good faith attempt to generate income.  These factors include education, experience and their professional field among others.

The Regnery Rule

The Regnery Rule is a notion that came about from a California divorce case entitled, Marriage of Regnery (1989) 214 Cal.App.3d 1367.  The rule basically put forth a three-pronged test that must be analyzed before earning capacity can be imputed on the spouse receiving support.  These three prongs include:

  1. The spouse’s ability to work;
  2. The spouse’s willingness to work; and
  3. The spouse’s opportunity to work based on an employer who is willing to hire this person.

If the court determines that the spouse receiving support has the ability to work and opportunities to generate income but simply does not have the willingness to do so, income can be imputed and spousal awards can be adjusted accordingly.  However, the best interests of the child or children will always remain the court’s top priority.

If you believe you are in such a situation, you need to seek the help of San Diego men’s rights lawyers who have helped many clients obtain a fair result when it comes to support.  Contact the Men’s Legal Center today to schedule an initial consultation.