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What Does It Mean To Impute Income in Minnesota?

When a couple has a child, they assume a number of parental responsibilities and privileges, many of which last a lifetime. Among their responsibilities is the obligation to provide financial support for their minor child. If the couple lives together, it is assumed that both parents contribute to the financial and emotional support of their offspring. However, if a couple divorces, the responsibility to provide for the child is formalized through a child support agreement.

Under Minnesota law, both parents must contribute support for their child. Their financial contributions may not be equal but will instead be consummate with their ability to provide. To calculate this, Minnesota courts look at both parents’ relative incomes and determine how they will each contribute.

Occasionally in these situations, one parent will attempt to get around his or her financial obligation by changing their employment status. This can be achieved either through becoming unemployed or underemployed, meaning the parent does not work as much or commands a much lower salary. If this happens, the court can choose not to accept the parent’s reported income, but instead impute income to that parent. Imputing income is a process of assigning an income to a person based on what he or she could or should be earning.

Income is imputed in situations in which there is clear evidence that a parent is trying to skirt his or her child support obligations through manipulating his or her employment status. It is not done to punish a parent who has been terminated involuntarily or who has made a genuine career change that necessitates a lower income.

If you need assistance with a child support matter or you have reason to believe your former partner is under-reporting income, is it a good idea to seek legal counsel. Learn more about your options by meeting with the respected Minnesota divorce attorneys at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. 

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