Copyright Articles 1996 - 2013 - All Rights Reserved

Minnesota criminal law, criminal defense, Divorce, custody, Lawyers

Imputing Income 


 General Info

About this Site


Ask-A-Lawyer: Questions


Business & Corporate Law

Minnesota Franchise Law

Freedom of Information Act


Criminal Defense Center

DWI Center


Minnesota Divorce

Collaborative Law


Estate Planning Center


Minnesota Juvenile Justice Center

Minnesota Lawyers  
Ofc. 612.240.8005  
Suite 700  
5775 Wayzata Boulevard  
St. Louis Park, MN 55416  



Imputing income to child support obligor in Minnesota

Imputing Income
underemployed income imputing, lawyers

  The question is often raised, "what do I do if the other party quits their job? Will he/she have to pay support?"

Imputation of income is the harsh result where the Court requires a party to pay spousal maintenance or (child support) based on earning capacity rather than true income. For example, if one party quits a job and reduces his/her income voluntarily or if a party fails to seek gainful employment though able-bodied, the Court may base that personís income on earning capacity. Oftentimes, the parsonís prior work history plays a pivotal role in determining what they have the ability to earn.

To award spousal maintenance ("alimony") based on earning capacity, the court must make specific findings that an obligor is underemployed in "bad faith." In fact, Minnesota Statutes ß 518.51, Subd. 5B(d) plainly states that "a parent is not considered voluntarily unemployed or underemployed upon a showing by the parent that the unemployment or underemployment:

  1. is temporary and will ultimately lead to an increase in income; or
  2. represents a bona fide career change that outweighs the adverse effect of that parent's diminished income on the child."

To award child support based on earning capacity, no finding of bad faith is necessary. The Court need only find that the obligor has a greater earning capacity and is voluntarily self-limiting his or income and it is the "best interest" of the minor child(ren) to impute income. This result is particularly harsh since it is often hard to change the Court's perception that income is being self-limited in subsequent proceedings where the standard for a reduction in support is whether a substantial change in circumstance has occurred making the previous support obligation unreasonable or unfair. .

Evidence that may be presented to demonstrate "bad faith" or earning capacity include:

  • Past Income information;
  • Past employment history;
  • Educational history;
  • Documents or awards related to education or work achievements;
  • Documents demonstrating that previous employment was voluntarily terminated.

Evidence that may be presented to rebut allegations that a person is self-limiting his or her income in "bad faith" include:

  • Documents demonstrating that the termination of prior employment was involuntary (eg. Documents indicating that the person was fired or was required to quit for medical reasons);
  • Any documentation of efforts to seek substitute employment (eg. Job applications, rejection letters, newspaper ads);
  • Documentation that job skills are outdated for a job similar to the one that was terminated.

Based on Minnesota Statutes Section 518A.42, as a minimum, the court must calculate a child support as follows:

  1. for one or two children, the obligor's basic support obligation is $50 per month;
  2. for three or four children, the obligor's basic support obligation is $75 per month; and
  3. for five or more children, the obligor's basic support obligation is $100 per month.

Call (612) 240-8005 for a consultation.

Call (612) 240-8005

Minnesota Divorce Institute

Wisconsin Divorce
Wisconsin Divorce Issues

Divorce Bulletin Board
Ask a question or review postings on our Family Law Bulletin Board

Divorce Forms
A comprehensive listing of divorce and divorce related forms for all states

Divorce Book Store
Review Books on Winning Custody, Child Support, Property

Divorce Links
Review links to Divorce and Family Law Resources including Men's and Women's Rights

Career Center: Find a job or post a job. Prepare a resume or have yours reviewed.

Financial Center
refinance, repair credit, acquire a credit report or apply for a credit card in our Financial Center. Click Here.

Business Links
Find a Minnesota business or a Minnesota business professional. Click Here.

About this Site  |  Ask-A-Lawyer: Questions  |  Business & Corporate Law  |  Minnesota Franchise Law  |  Freedom of Information Act  |  Criminal Defense Center  |  DWI Center  |  Minnesota Divorce  |  Collaborative Law  |  Estate Planning Center  |  Minnesota Juvenile Justice Center


Any information contained on this site is general in nature. You should not rely on any articles, postings or other information on these pages as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. If you are in need of legal advice concerning a particular matter, you are encouraged to contact an attorney in your state.

Any Lawyers referred have indicated the geographic area and the areas of law in which they will accept referrals. This site makes no investigation into the referral attorney's particular abilities to handle the Client's legal matter. Before employing the attorney, the Client should interview the attorney and make whatever investigation the Client feels is appropriate into the attorney's qualifications to handle the Client's legal matter.

Minnesota Lawyers

Sign In

 Sign In