Subscribe

Child Support and Attribution of Income

I hear this statement a lot (more out of frustration than anything else):  “You can’t get blood from a stone. I will just quit my job and she won’t get any support!”   It sounds like the perfect move in theory.   Too bad that it is not true!  Child support and attribution of income are closely linked when considering a modification to the court order.

As you know, child support is calculated under the child support guidelines using the gross income of the parties (and figuring in child care, medical insurance, etc.).  If your income changes, and you no longer have the same gross income, you can ask the Court for modification of the child support order.

Many of us have been there.  A lay off.  A position eliminated.  Company closes.  There are many situations where, due to nothing that we have done, and through no fault of our own, our occupation suddenly changes and income decreases.  In this scenario, you may be entitled to modification, temporary or permanent, due to the material change in circumstances.  See more about modification here (link to modification page).

On the other hand, if you quit your job voluntarily, or you voluntarily change your position to a job that earns you a markedly decrease income, the other party can argue that the Court should attribute income to you when calculating the child support under the Guidelines.  By attributing the income, the Court uses your previous income, or some income between that which you now earn and that which you formerly earned, within the child support guidelines to award the child support.  In effect, the Court basically “pretends” that you earn that much and calculates the support as if you do.

Here’s a real life scenario that I worked on in the past:  Husband and wife have very contentious divorce.  Husband is ordered to pay a large support award based on his very handsome income.  Husband meets millionaire.  Husband quits his job, moves to the Midwest and gets a job at a convenience store.  Husband then moves for modification. The result?  Husband continued to pay that very large award of support based on his former very handsome income.  Why?  Voluntary decrease of support cannot warrant modification of child support.

The proof is in the pudding.  Discuss your case with an attorney to determine, with respect to this article, which income figures are proper to use in the calculation of support. It could mean a world of difference in the award (or lack thereof!)

You can read more about general child support information here.

If you need to discuss this, or any, child support issue, please contact me here.

Blanchette: Case on Appeal

Recently the New Hampshire Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Ernest Justin Blanchette, a former deputy sheriff charged with sexual assault of an inmate during transport from the Belknap County jail to the state prison for women in Goffstown. This case shows...

Delphi Murders Update

May 2021 Update: As we all work to keep this case in the headlines for as many eyes as possible, we often see other arrests that may appear to be similar to the person who killed Abby & Libby.  Those persons will be investigated thoroughly by the local police, the...

Do I have to pay child support without a court order?

Do I have to pay child support without a court order?  This is a question that I see often in my practice. The answer is two-fold: there’s the legal advice and the practical advice. Picture this:  you and your partner have separated. You’ve moved out of the home. ...

How to Complete a Financial Statement

One of the biggest concerns in family court is the creation of a financial statement (or in New Hampshire, a financial affidavit). I see clients stress day after day about the information to include, the necessary documents and the mandated disclosure. Here are some...

Divorce After 50

Picture This:  You married your high school sweetheart.  You settled down and had a couple of kids early in life whom are now out of school and have families of their own.  Through the early years of your marriage things were great, but as you both matured, and the...

Visitation Part 2: Pick up, Drop off and Last Minute Schedule Changes

It’s very rare that parties to a divorce, or parents who are no longer in a relationship, get along very well. After all, if you did, you’d likely still be together, right? It is more typically the case that parents do NOT get along. As a result, dealing with...

Should my Ex’s New Girlfriend/Boyfriend visit with my child?

You’ve separated from your partner and he now has a new girlfriend. He sees nothing wrong with that girlfriend being present during visitation with your kids. You think that she should not be there. You are not alone. This is a very common issue in the world of...

Topics You Should Discuss With Your Divorce Lawyer

Hiring a divorce lawyer is the first important step in a long list of your divorce. Once you retain a lawyer it is vitally important that you communicate openly and honestly with her.  She is there to to advocate for you to get the best solution for your situation. We...

My ex won’t pay child support. Can I refuse to let him see the kids?

My  ex won’t pay child support. Can I refuse to let him see our daughter? Absolutely not! If you do it, you are in contempt. Child support and parenting time are two separate issues. If there is an order for support and an order for parenting time, each of the parties...

What does Child Support Cover: Medical Bills

We are continuing the series about Child Support and the things it covers.  This article will focus on expenses incurred that are outside the actual child support payment but perhaps still required by the court as a form of supporting your child.  Our previous article...

Annulment: Legal vs Religious

Annulment:  Legal versus Religious – an important distinction In the past  I wrote an article about annulment in each state:  Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  As I wrapped up the last article, I realized that I should discuss just one more point about annulment that...

Divorce and Drama…oh the Drama!

We laugh about it when we see it on TV.  We shake our heads in disbelief when our friends tell us about it in their lives.  But suddenly, you find yourself in the midst of a divorce and right smack in the middle of a real life reality drama series just like those made...

Fight For Your Right – For Child Support

I get calls from clients on a regular basis who ask me if they should "go after" child support.  Some clients are preparing for a divorce, some are previously divorced and others are parents who were never married.  There are a couple of things to point out here. If...

Losing Custody of Your Child

Losing custody of your child is one of the most heart-wrenching things a parent can endure.  As a family attorney, I am often asked about the types of things that will result in losing custody of your child.  This article will point out a few actions that can lead to...

Can an Attorney Represent Both Parties in a Divorce

I receive calls frequently from potential clients who are seeking an attorney to counsel the parties, together, for a divorce. This happens for a variety of reasons. You want to save money. You feel as if you are in agreement on many of the issues. You want the...

What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce?

A large concern during divorce consultation is the marital home. What will happen? Can I stay? Will I be forced out? Can I afford it? How will the Court decide to which party the home is awarded? The answers to these questions will often determine the outcome of other...

Massachusetts: Joint Petition or Complaint for Divorce

In Massachusetts, there are two ways by which a party can file for a divorce. The first is commonly known as a “joint petition.” The second is commonly referred to as a “complaint for divorce.” A “joint petition” is filed when the parties agree on how to resolve all...

Creating an Irrevocable Trust Can Save Your Loved Ones

The words "irrevocable trust" often seem intimidating to many of my clients.  However, when used properly, this can be an effective estate planning tool.   If designed properly, it can prevent an estate from staying tied up in probate for years.  It can help families...

What Does Child Support Cover? Part I

Paying child support is a double-edged sword.  Parents are court ordered to pay but have little, or no, say-so on how it is spent day to day.  There are some court mandated requirements governing child support and because I receive many inquires about it, this is part...

Relocating with Children After Divorce

Clients often tell me that when their divorce is complete they are "done with marriage".  The hurt has jaded them.  The fight over custody, home, financial assets, and more has left them emotionally void.  Until next time, that is.  People have a wonderful ability to...

Can I Stop Him From Selling Our Home While Child Is Still in School?

Question: My husband moved out of our home two years ago and moved in with another woman. We have guardianship of my granddaughter who will be graduating from high school in 2018. she is going to be going to college after she graduates. My husband said that as soon as...

What qualities do I look for when hiring an attorney?

Choosing an attorney is not a simple process. Do your best to make a good decision at the outset of your case and you will win in the long run with a respected advocate on your side and confidence in every decision that you make along the way. Generally speaking, you...

What Does Full Disclosure Mean for My Divorce?

Each litigant involved in a paternity or divorce action is required to complete and submit a form to the Court, and the opposing party, must provide “full disclosure" of your financial information.  In Massachusetts it is known as a financial statement.  In New...

Kid’s Corner: The “Do’s”

This is part two of my advice for dealing with your children in divorce. I’ve already made my disclaimer that I’m not a therapist by any means. I do have children of my own. I do help my clients deal with their children’s issues in the course of my representation...

Parental Rights – Surrender vs. Termination in NH

Being a parent is one of the most wonderful gifts in the world.  As such, Courts are reluctant to come between a parent and a child.  However, there are times when the court will remove a parent's rights.  This is known as a termination of parental rights.  There are...

Filing a Protective Order: Preparing to Leave

Filing a protective order is an extremely difficult decision.  It takes a toll physically and emotionally on a person.  After the filing, many decisions still have yet to be finalized.  This article is not intended to override your existing plans regarding self help;...

2021 Update! Still Missing – Maura Murray

March 2021 Update: For those of you following this case, you are probably aware of Tim & Lance's podcast, Missing Maura.  For years, the podcast was its own entity.  Over the years, they began highlighting other cases as well.  To learn about Maura's case, there...

Prenuptial Agreements: Why Would I Want That?

It's hard to think that a divorce might happen when you are in the midst of planning your marriage and happily dreaming about the rest of your life, isn’t it?  How do you plan a happy life while deciding what to do if it all goes south?  The problem is that most...

5 Appeals Cases To Follow and Why

Although there are a number of high profile wrongful conviction cases in the news, they are still a small percentage of all convictions. The news media would like to have us believe that all police investigations are tainted and that all detectives are on the take...

Who is Using Your DNA?

Who is using your DNA? If you have watched any television recently, you may have noticed an increase in the DNA profile commercials.  You know the ones – “I thought I was from Italy, but turns out I am mostly Scottish” and they promote that you can also learn your...

Who Gets Our Family Dog in the Divorce?

It's a common scenario.  Boy meets girl and they fall in love.  They buy a home or rent an apartment.  Wanting to share their love, they adopt a dog. Over the next year or so, they get married.  Their dog is their baby.  They share photos of him on social media sites,...

Parenting Your Special Needs Child

Penny and Zach had a stormy relationship from day one.  They argued over food, traveling and holidays.  After they were married, they could not agree on anything except their child's name.    When Baby Levi was 3 and still behind developmentally, Penny sought out...

Massachusetts: How does Separate Support Differ from Divorce?

In Massachusetts, I am often asked about the difference between Separate Support and Divorce.  Actions for Separate Support and Divorce are two very distinct options that are separate filings in the Probate & Family Court. It is important to understand the...

The Importance of an Appeal

Aaron Hernandez, famed football player who was convicted of murder and later, committed suicide has, once again, been in the news.  You may recall that before his death, his murder conviction was working its way through the stages of the Appeal's Court.  Aaron...

Should I Stay Married For the Sake of My Children?

I often see the question posed to me in the middle of a conversation with a potential client, current client or even an acquaintance who knows I practice family law:  should I stay married for the sake of my children?  Should I wait until they are older before we...

Estate Planning: Planning Ahead

Nobody wants to think about their death. It's unpleasant no matter how you look at it.  However, planning ahead is more than simply dividing up your worldly assets.  It can ensure that your children are cared for by the person that you prefer. Planning ahead can...

Domestic Abuse During a Pandemic

The year 2020 is now behind us but in many ways, we are still living through a full scale pandemic.  COVID-19 hit this world  and affected us in a large number of ways we did not expect.  For many, being forced to stay in their homes, brought on anxiety, depression...

New Hampshire: The First Appearance

    You’ve filed for divorce and you’ve received a notice that you must attend something called a First Appearance. So, what is this?     If you are a party to a divorce action, and you have children of the marriage that are...

Estate Planning After Divorce

Estate Planning After Divorce After a divorce, the last thing that anyone wants to think about is seeing an attorney, legal matters, planning the future, that sort of thing. The sad truth is that this is probably the most important time to get your estate plan revised...

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators – Part II

In our last post, we wrote about ways you can take precautions to protect your child from sexual predators who are related to the child - either by blood or marriage.  In the second article of this three part series, we will discuss protecting your children from...

Divorce Without Consent: Can I divorce without my spouse’s consent?

A very common question is whether you can get divorce without consent.  Of course! The old adage that you need your spouse to “give you a divorce” is no longer. You can proceed with a divorce even if the other party does not want to divorce. You don’t need a spouse’s...

Is It Safe To Leave an Abusive Marriage?

A co-worker, "Pat",  confides to you during lunch one day that her "marital bliss" has all been a sham and that she thinks she has just learned to accept her husband's abusive behavior.  All of the stories she shares at work about her family are lies and have been for...

Massachusetts: The Alimony Reform Act

A recent hot topic in family law is alimony. I’m sure a lot of you have heard of the proposed legislation known as the Alimony Reform Act. This Act aims to define, clarify and guide the Courts, and the litigants, regarding certain aspects of alimony. Amongst other...

Paying Child Support Without a Court Order

Paying child support without a court order Paying child support without a court order is a question that comes up very often in my practice.  This can apply anytime there is a child between two people, whether the couple is married, or unmarried.  Here is a common...

​ Can you get a restraining order on behalf of your child?

​As a parent it is our number one job to protect our children. In today's world, with all of the technology, there are more ways than ever for a child to be targeted. Children can be targeted by their own peers, by adults pretending to be other children or by...

Do I Need a Holiday Schedule?

Question: Do I need a holiday schedule in my parenting plan/divorce agreement? I see this question a lot in my practice, particularly where the parties seem to be working together and getting along well during the time that they are drafting an agreement.  We can work...

Arsdale Appeals and Alimony

Recently two new cases came down from our SJC that you should be aware of, both relating to alimony. The first, SUSAN VAN ARSDALE vs. WILLIAM VAN ARSDALE, focused on the constitutionality of durational limits of alimony applied retroactively.* To examine the...

Avoiding Legal Issues

In my previous article, “What Type of Attorney Should I Hire,” I wrote about the importance of speaking with an attorney early on in your case to maximize any potential outcome you may have as well as choosing the right attorney for the type of situation, rather than...

Legal Lessons From a Mistress

The following is from someone who asked to share her story so others could learn from her Legal Lessons From a Mistress. Several years ago I went through a nasty divorce after 17 years of marriage.  At the end of it, I vowed never to allow myself to fall for another...

2017 Child Support Guidelines – Part 3

In part 3 of our series on the 2017 Child Support Guidelines, we will be addressing child support for children between 18-23 years old and parental contribution to post-secondary educational expenses. If you would like to read about other changes, please see Part 1 -...

Pin It on Pinterest

Read previous post:
Child Support: Two Part Series on Common Issues – Intro

Certain questions become very common in the practice of divorce and parenting.  Particularly with the commonality of changing jobs more...

Close