Attribution of Income

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Attribution of Income

Unread postby DPO » Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:18 am

Hello. I have been divorced (in MA) since 2009. We are required to re-assess weekly CS every year in May based on annual tax returns. My income has continued to increase since the time of the divorce by nearly 60%, to which my ex-wife gladly takes the increased amount each year despite any changes to her or the children's living situation or 'needs for support'. Her income, which at the time is of the divorce and now are approximately 50% and 35% relative to mine, respectively. At the time of the divorce, my (terrible) attorney told me that once the kids are a little older and need less daily care (they are not teenagers), we could call for a Modification based on a principle of Attribution of Income and 'earning potential'. In other words, she and I both have the same level of education (college degree) and therefore, she has the potential to earn as much as I do (instead of taking easy, low stress , local jobs, as she has been doing). Does anyone know If there is any validity to this approach? As Draconian as MA is with regards to Fathers/obligors, I am hopeful that even though we use the MA Guidelimea to recalculate each year, technically our joint income is outside of the Guidelines), and so could be at the discretion of a Judge (which I understand could go either way, but am hopeful this concept of 'earning potential' should be considered for both parties. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Re: Attribution of Income

Unread postby Fatheroffour » Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:29 am

Typically, imputation of income is based on past demonstrated earning potential rather than theoretical earning potential.

In other words, assessing someone of an earning potential they have never achieved is unusual.
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Re: Attribution of Income

Unread postby astrolink » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:44 am

Your attorney was feeding you what he/she thought you wanted to hear. The policy exists, but from what you wrote, I doubt the courts of Commonwealth of Massachusetts would take it into consideration.
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Re: Attribution of Income

Unread postby DPO » Fri Mar 31, 2017 10:44 am

Hi. Thanks for the replies. From the sounds of it, now I have even more reason not to like attorneys or the state of Massachusetts! The attorney should not tell me what I want to hear but what is legally possible. In MA, the payor (nearly always the Father) is bound to an expectation of earning potential. And while I can appreciate that it may be based on prior income, it's not fair to use that as a benchmark as jobs, careers, and industries change. Should I ever want to change profession and select one that makes me happier day to day, but brings in less money, I am not allowed to because of the State. My ex wife, however, and as I said has the same earning potential that I do, is able to work less than 40 hours at a local company with a shorter commute, and less stress, while her income is subsidized by my income which I get taxed on and she receives tax free. This world is incredibly out of whack!
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Re: Attribution of Income

Unread postby lionel2013 » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:52 am

DPO wrote:Hi. Thanks for the replies. From the sounds of it, now I have even more reason not to like attorneys or the state of Massachusetts! The attorney should not tell me what I want to hear but what is legally possible. In MA, the payor (nearly always the Father) is bound to an expectation of earning potential. And while I can appreciate that it may be based on prior income, it's not fair to use that as a benchmark as jobs, careers, and industries change. Should I ever want to change profession and select one that makes me happier day to day, but brings in less money, I am not allowed to because of the State. My ex wife, however, and as I said has the same earning potential that I do, is able to work less than 40 hours at a local company with a shorter commute, and less stress, while her income is subsidized by my income which I get taxed on and she receives tax free. This world is incredibly out of whack!


Welcome to my world, and that of many others. Yes, the system is incredibly biased against us.
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