Maintenance: Voluntary Underemployment and Imputed Income


In this video, attorney Sara Ross gives a brief summary of a question that comes up in many divorces: is one of the two members of the former couple “underemployed” (i.e. earning less money than he/she reasonably could be)? How this question is treated depends on the case, but sometimes the case needs to be treated as if this person was making more money than he/she actually is.


Sara Ross: We run into issues in maintenance with whether someone is voluntarily under-employed. This often happens in families where one person raised the children and the other person worked, and someone’s been out of the work force for a long time, and the question is: “Could they earn more than they actually are right now?” In that case, we look at whether or not we should impute income or pretend that the person is making income because they could be but aren’t.