Determining an appropriate amount of child support requires accurate accounting of the income of both parents. In some cases, parents who are obligated to pay support try to lower the amount of the payment by avoiding employment or intentionally taking a lower-paying job. If you are a child support recipient whose co-parent is unemployed or underemployed, then know that the law provides options for you to receive the amount of financial support your child needs and deserves.
When a parent in Pennsylvania tries to shirk a child support obligation by avoiding employment, a court may impute income in order to ensure that the proper amount of child support is paid. To impute income is to attribute an income amount that is greater than the amount the paying parent actually earns.
Keep in mind also that calculating income for the purpose of child support may include more than what a parent earns at a job. Any income received from rental properties, retirement plans, veterans’ benefits, unemployment benefits and Social Security benefits may also be taken into account.
To have income imputed to a parent, there must be proof that the parent has chosen to be underemployed or unemployed. Imputation may not apply if the parent responsible for child support had to stop working because of an injury, illness or layoff.
A variety of factors have to be considered when determining how much income should be imputed to a parent who is obligated to pay child support. If you have questions about any of these matters, then a Pennsylvania family law attorney can examine your case and explain your options.