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Father’s Challenge to Imputed Income Granted

Father holding child

In a case before Judge Machelle Sweeting sitting in the Family Court of New York County, a father brought objections (an appeal) to a support magistrate’s finding he had imputed income. The father challenged the support magistrate’s decision. The mother had a petition for an upward modification of child support. At the time the petition was filed the father was unemployed. However the support magistrate found he had voluntarily left his position. The court therefore imputed the income to him that he would have received had he not left his job. The father sought to present testimony he did not voluntarily leave his job. However he was not allowed to present this testimony with regard to how he came to be unemployed.

The Family Court Judge’s Decision

Family Court Judge Machelle Sweeting found that there was no evidence submitted before the support magistrate that the father had taken action to intentionally reduce his earnings by leaving his job. Judge Sweeting found there must be a factual basis on the record for imputing income to a father. She stated there must be a determination made that the parent intentionally reduced earnings for the purpose of avoiding child support obligations. She held this can be imputed based on a litigant’s employment history and/or educational background. She found in this case a hearing would need to be held as to whether the father intentionally reduced his earnings and for recalculation, should it be reasonable based on the outcome of this hearing.

Conclusion

Attorney Elliot Schlissel

If you appear before a Support Magistrate and receive an unfair or incorrect decision your remedy is to bring an appeal.