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Imputing Income in Divorce Cases in NJ

Are you out of luck if your spouse doesn't work?

Do you "get screwed" when it comes to alimony just because your spouse is unemployed?


"Imputing income" is a legal term used to describe the process of assigning--that is to say, of "making believe" that the spouse earns-- a specific amount of income to a party in a divorce case.

This can be done for a variety of reasons, such as if one spouse is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.

The goal of imputing income is to ensure that each party is contributing their fair share toward alimony and child support, as well as to the division of debts.

In New Jersey, the process of imputing income is governed by a set of laws and guidelines.

According to NJ Statute 2A:34-23, the court may consider the income and earning capacity of each party when making determinations regarding the division of property and the payment of alimony.

This means that if one spouse is not working or is working in a job that pays significantly less than their earning potential, the court may impute income to that spouse based on what they could reasonably be expected to earn.

There are several factors that a court will consider when imputing income in a divorce case.

These include the education and training of each party, their work history and experience, the current job market, and their physical and emotional health.

The court will also look at the standard of living that the couple enjoyed during their marriage, and the lifestyle that each party can reasonably be expected to maintain after the divorce.

Imputing income can have a significant impact on the outcome of a divorce case.

For example, if one spouse is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the court may impute income to that spouse based on what they could reasonably be expected to earn.

This means that the unemployed or underemployed spouse may be required to pay alimony or a larger share of the division of assets and debts.

However, imputing income is not always a straightforward process.

The party who is being imputed income may dispute the amount that the court has assigned to them.

They may argue that they are unable to find work in their field or that their earning potential is limited by factors outside of their control.

Overall, imputing income is an important tool that courts can use to ensure that each party is contributing their fair share to the division of assets and debts in a divorce case.

By taking into account a range of factors, including each party's education, work experience, and earning potential, courts can make fair and equitable decisions that reflect the unique circumstances of each case.




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 Until next time,

Steven J. Kaplan, Esq.

Specializing In Divorce
Throughout New Jersey

5 Professional Circle
Colts Neck, NJ. 07722

(732) 845-9010