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Imputing Wages for custodial parent

Started by AnnetteN, Jul 10, 2011, 04:42:56 PM

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AnnetteN

I am in MI and am the custodial parent.  I received paper work that my ex wants the support order modified and it states that I am voluntarily unemployed and asking that income be imputed.   I was laid off almost three years ago and have not worked since.  I did look although I never found something that made enough to justify paying for daycare.  Will the court impute a salary for me and how do they determine that?  There is little chance I am able to make my old salary again.  My ex also makes a lot more than he did at the time of the original order but also has another child he is now paying support on as well. 

bloom6372

Quote from: AnnetteN on Jul 10, 2011, 04:42:56 PM
I am in MI and am the custodial parent.  I received paper work that my ex wants the support order modified and it states that I am voluntarily unemployed and asking that income be imputed.   I was laid off almost three years ago and have not worked since.  I did look although I never found something that made enough to justify paying for daycare.  Will the court impute a salary for me and how do they determine that?  There is little chance I am able to make my old salary again.  My ex also makes a lot more than he did at the time of the original order but also has another child he is now paying support on as well. 

In MI, they can either impute your last salary, or if the Court feels 3 years it too long ago, they will impute a salary equal to your "earning potentional" based on your education and previous jobs. If you have a Bachelor's Degree, the lowest they will impute is full time minimum wage (or so said the FOC to my DH when he asked...) If you had one or more previous jobs that had a higher income than that, they may use one of those, or average those incomes.

ocean

Apply to some jobs and keep track so you bring it to court. Make a one page list of the places you have sent resumes too, had interviews, and what the pay would be. Go back as far as you can remember and do some recent ones.

The child that needs daycare, is that HIS child? If it is, he can be ordered to pay a percentage in order for you to work. If this is not his child, then he can say, you knew the situation and had another child.

What state are you in? Some states do not care if he had more children. If your child is older and had the child support order in first, then yours inputs first and second child should not come into play. (same situation, he knew he has a support order and had more children...)

AnnetteN

The first order was with me and then he got married right away when he had another child on the way.  There is a minimal amount, under $140 a month that was figured into our agreement for daycare.  There was at least three or four years I paid much more especially over the summer it was closer to $600 a month for full time daycare and never asked for the amount he paid to be raised. 

I originally went with what ever amount was set from the state child support formula and never asked for anything more.  Fortunately I am in a position with my new husband that not working is possible, its a little tight but worth it to be around more for my son before and after school and the summer with the current child support.  I want to be fair but I don't see how it would be in my son's best interest for me to be working full time again and sending him to before and after school care.  I just don't know how the court will look at this.  My ex has also wanted to lower the support ever since I got remarried because my husbands income, which is somewhere around what  he is currently making as well and because he has to pay support on his second child now as well.

Simplydad

Quote from: AnnetteN on Jul 10, 2011, 07:38:48 PM
The first order was with me and then he got married right away when he had another child on the way.  There is a minimal amount, under $140 a month that was figured into our agreement for daycare.  There was at least three or four years I paid much more especially over the summer it was closer to $600 a month for full time daycare and never asked for the amount he paid to be raised. 

I originally went with what ever amount was set from the state child support formula and never asked for anything more.  Fortunately I am in a position with my new husband that not working is possible, its a little tight but worth it to be around more for my son before and after school and the summer with the current child support.  I want to be fair but I don't see how it would be in my son's best interest for me to be working full time again and sending him to before and after school care.  I just don't know how the court will look at this.  My ex has also wanted to lower the support ever since I got remarried because my husbands income, which is somewhere around what  he is currently making as well and because he has to pay support on his second child now as well.

I think the additional information shed's some light on the situation.  From the outside looking in it seems to me that your ex is only tryign to get child support reduced because he now has to pay for a second child as well.  I am not going to pretend to know michigan law but I did a little resarch and hopefully some of this will help you.

First I found a link to Michigan's child support formula http://courts.michigan.gov/scao/resources/publications/manuals/focb/2004mcsfmanual.pdf (http://courts.michigan.gov/scao/resources/publications/manuals/focb/2004mcsfmanual.pdf)

1. Accourding to the formule imputed salary is based on a voluntary reduction of salary.  My interpretation is that this mostly applies to the non-custodial parent and their attempt to avoid paying child support.  According to the law it does state that both parents need to be employed but I do not see where it the parent's income is taken into condsideration to determing child support.  I just don't see how a person should pay less child support because the custodial parent makes more money.

I found a document that talks about imputing salary with case law.  It seems each instance talks the the person paying child support and their attempts to circumvent the law to avoid paying. http://www.dflaw.com/tasks/sites/deanfulkerson/assets/image/Mother%20Theresa%20(PJM).pdf (http://www.dflaw.com/tasks/sites/deanfulkerson/assets/image/Mother%20Theresa%20(PJM).pdf)

All of the information I can find on imputing salary deal with the person paying support.  I have not been able to find any instances where child support was decreased because the custodial parent did not have a job.

I hope this info helps. I am will continue researching and if I find someting I will post it here.

AnnetteN

Thank you very much for the help!  That seems to be what I am finding as well and it mostly relates to the the person paying child support. 

gam

Michigan can and will impute wages to both the custodial and non custodial parent. Michigan's child support formula is based on both parents income. The following is the Michigan Child support formula manual


The following is the section from the manual for potential income(imputing)

2.01(G) Potential Income
When a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, or has an unexercised
ability to earn, income includes the
potential income that parent could earn, subject to
that parent's actual ability.

(1) The amount of potential income imputed should be sufficient to bring that parent's
income up to the level it would have been if the parent had not voluntarily reduced
or waived income.
(a) The amount of potential income imputed (1) should not exceed the level it
would have been if there was no reduction in income, (2) not be based on more
than a 40 hour work week, and (3) not include potential overtime or shift
premiums.
(b) Imputation is not appropriate where an individual is employed full time (35 or
more hours per week) but has chosen to cease working additional hours (such
as leaving a second job or refusing overtime). But actual earnings for overtime,
second job, and shift premiums are considered income.§2.01(C)(1).
(2) Use relevant factors both to determine whether the parent in question has an actual
ability to earn and a reasonable likelihood of earning the potential income. To
figure the amount of potential income that parent could earn, consider the
following:
(a) Prior employment experience and history, including reasons for any
termination or changes in employment.
(b) Educational level and any special skills or training.
(c) Physical and mental disabilities that may affect a parent's ability to obtain or
maintain gainful employment.
(d) Availability for work (exclude periods when a parent could not work or seek
work, e.g., hospitalization, incarceration, debilitating illness, etc.).
(e) Availability of opportunities to work in the local geographical area.
(f) The prevailing wage rates in the local geographical area.
(g) Diligence exercised in seeking appropriate employment.
(h) Evidence that the parent in question is able to earn the imputed income.
(i) Personal history, including present marital status and present means of support.
(j) The presence of the parties' children in the parent's home and its impact on that
parent's earnings.
(k) Whether there has been a significant reduction in income compared to the
period that preceded the filing of the initial complaint or the motion for
modification.
(3) Imputation of potential income should account for the additional costs associated
with earning the potential income such as child care and taxes that a parent would
pay on the imputed income.
(4) The court makes the final determination whether imputing a potential income is

appropriate in a particular case.
[/FONT]

None of this applies just to the non custodial parent, it applies to both parents, even the one receiving the CS, they can and will impute income to the custodial parent. It's all in the Michigan Child Support Manual, link at top of my post.

In your first post you said you were laid off, fair enough, after all this is Michigan, jobs are hard to come by. But then in another of your posts, you say your in the position with your new husband that not working is possible. Nope the Michigan Formula does not work that way, that would be voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. Also since your child must be school age(deducting that by you saying before and after care) your cost for daycare is lowered during the school year. Yes in summer you may need full time care. But if they imputed you with minimum wage, childcare during school year and then full time during summer, they will say that minimum wage is enough to make to afford that much care.

Keep in mind to that on top of base support, your ex will be required to pay his portion of child care. His portion is figured in the child support formula. So say he was to make $50,000 a year and you were to make make $20,000, his portion would be much higher. They also take this percentage to medical insurance and uncovered medical expenses.

So your going to have to prove you were laid off, and you can't find other work. It's not likely you will win an argument on not being imputed because of cost of daycare, as your child does not need full time daycare year round, and even if you made minimum wage, the other parent will be paying a portion of daycare. So the court can find that you need to find a job and impute you on what you can make.

There is case law out there on the custodial parent being imputed, I've seen some cases before. Sorry don't remember the names of the cases and didn't save them, but they are there. My daughter is in a split situation, in Michigan, she is and was custodial parent, and they imputed her a wage.

It's possible to win your argument, but if your ex has a lawyer, and if he does his job, it's unlikely and you will be imputed. If I get a chance, I will see if I can locate any cases where the imputing has to do with the custodial parent and post them for you.

gam

Sorry it would not let me post the link to the Michigan Child Support Formula Manual, said I needed to have 5 posts.

I don't get that, cause I have had my account for sometime here, while I don't post often, I know I have posted more then 5 times. I do know they recently changed the forum over, so perhaps it took away posts counted to me.

Anyways, just google Michigan Child Support Formula Manual, and you will get links directly to the manual, sorry about that.

tigger

Quote from: gam on Jul 11, 2011, 06:00:36 PM
I don't get that, cause I have had my account for sometime here, while I don't post often, I know I have posted more then 5 times. I do know they recently changed the forum over, so perhaps it took away posts counted to me.

Just to clarify, there was a major crash and many posts were lost . . . not taken away intentionally.
The wonderful thing about tiggers is I'm the only one!

gam

Quote from: tigger on Jul 11, 2011, 07:23:06 PM
Quote from: gam on Jul 11, 2011, 06:00:36 PM
I don't get that, cause I have had my account for sometime here, while I don't post often, I know I have posted more then 5 times. I do know they recently changed the forum over, so perhaps it took away posts counted to me.

Just to clarify, there was a major crash and many posts were lost . . . not taken away intentionally.

Thanks for letting me know. At first I had to check my username, thought who's account did I sign onto, haha.

Simplydad

Thanks Gam for the information.  I knew eventually someone with first hand knowledge would reply.

Annette It seems that you may have your salary imputed but I have a question.

Were you working at the time of your divorce?  If so I think your ex may have a hard time getting support lowered because it was already based on you having a salary.  However, I could seen him having the day expenses dropped.  If you are not working that means your child does not need day care which would eliminate his need to pay for day care.

AnnetteN

Yes I was working at the time of divorce and my income was included.  I only went by what ever the formula said and didn't ask for any more.  I am fine with the child care being gone and not arguing with that.  The child care was figured at two days a week at the time of the divorce.  I was paying well over that for years and never asked for additional help in any way.  We do both have lawyers at this point and I also have no problem with income being imputed and considering that there would also be some childcare involved.  His income has also increased quite a bit and I know he is not paying a lot for his other child.  I did not mean that we are in a great place financially but the jobs I have found are not near what I had been making when I got laid off and it was worth it to us to be a little tight for a while and cut some expenses to be able to have more time at home with my son especially over the summer and be involved with his school which I feel very thankful for.

Simplydad

Quote from: AnnetteN on Jul 14, 2011, 08:21:25 AM
Yes I was working at the time of divorce and my income was included.  I only went by what ever the formula said and didn't ask for any more.  I am fine with the child care being gone and not arguing with that.  The child care was figured at two days a week at the time of the divorce.  I was paying well over that for years and never asked for additional help in any way.  We do both have lawyers at this point and I also have no problem with income being imputed and considering that there would also be some childcare involved.  His income has also increased quite a bit and I know he is not paying a lot for his other child.  I did not mean that we are in a great place financially but the jobs I have found are not near what I had been making when I got laid off and it was worth it to us to be a little tight for a while and cut some expenses to be able to have more time at home with my son especially over the summer and be involved with his school which I feel very thankful for.

I understand.....needed the information because it would help in my coming up with an opinion.  (Not that I would be right but it does help)

From the outside looking in your Ex is making a mistake and he should have just left well enough alone.  Since you were working at the time of the divorce and therefore your income has been included in the calculation of child support I am trying to understand the basis for his argument.  I could see if you were the one asking for an increase for child support and his stance was based on a counter argument.

gam

By your additional info, I agree with simplydad and wonder why on earth your ex would want to modify, if the child support order is from when you were working.

Now that he is seeking modification, by all means get your income modified. It's Michigan, courts are well aware of the job situation, well aware that most can't find jobs making what they once were. Do some research, find job openings that match what your job was before layoff. Get information on pay for these openings, and show the court that you can't make what you once were. Good shot of being imputed for a lower income.

When Michigan imputes, they can only impute if the person can actually work. So they look at it like this, if this person were to actually go to work, would they also need daycare for the child/children? If so, they will consider daycare into this. Often when one makes a lower wages, by imputing, the court knows that the person can/will go get a job. So they figure the going rate for daycare into this. If the imputing amount makes say $100 difference in the support order, they then figure what it would be for amount of time the child/children would be in daycare, they then take the parent who pay's child support percentage that they have to pay for medical and daycare. So say daycare is $200 a month, that parents percentage is say 50%, so that person owes $100 in daycare to you. It washed the savings he is getting by imputing you, so they tell them forget it, we are not imputing, unless mom were to come back and motion for daycare. Now I just made up figures to show this, but if it washes his savings or if daycare is more then his savings(which is often the case), then they won't impute.

And I know this for fact, have been in there many times when this has occured.

I think dad is being foolish, cause you were making an income when child support was figured anyways. He is also foolish cause he has not considered that daycare will factor into this, if you are imputed or were working.

ocean

I think the father has in his head that he has two orders now and wants hers lowered (since the second one is lower than hers) BUT if his income has gone up since then and hers down, he may be paying more when this is done. In NY it is all about numbers and a formula, nothing else unless the parents agree to a different number.

fight4him

Sometimes people do crazy things. In our situation, BM took us back for modification thinking she was going to get a whole lot more. DH was on unemployment at the time and has since went back full time. What she didn't realize is when he is ordered to get insurance on him the amount of money SHE gets will be lower than she is even getting now. One of these days we hope to get these papers finalized and get things going.....it takes forever...