Child Support

A Court Must Fully Develop The Record To Determine Whether A Career Change Occurred And Then Determine Whether Income Imputation Is Warranted

In the family law, child support modification case of Provost v. Provost, No 20-2-6244, App. Div. the defendant appealed from an order which imputed his income, modified his child support obligations for the parties’ children and compelled him to make payments for a child’s college tuition and related expenses. Defendant argued that the judge erred by imputing income to him because he was involuntarily unemployed, sought employment and found an appropriate job. Defendant argued that the judge erroneously found that his actions amounted to a change in careers. Defendant also contended that the judge miscalculated his child support and the otherwise erred in determining his obligations to pay college tuition and related expenses. The appellate panel found that there was insufficient evidence on the record to show that defendant changed careers. Defendant was a Porsche car mechanic for a dealership, then remained a Porsche mechanic, but for his own business. Although defendant currently performed other tasks such as marketing, bookkeeping, and building maintenance, the record did not indicate whether defendant performed similar tasks at the dealership. The panel noted that it was inconsequential and not outcome-determinative whether defendant was previously a salaried employee and then a proprietor for the purpose of determining whether a career change occurred. The panel remanded for the judge to more fully develop the record as to whether defendant changed careers and then determine whether income imputation would be warranted. After determining whether to impute income to defendant, the judge should then determine defendant’s obligations to pay child support and contribute to college tuition and expenses.

Reference: Case & Analysis, New Jersey Law Journal, 219 N.J.L.J. 1039, (March 30, 2015)

Filed Under: Child Support; Child Support Modification; Career Change; Imputation of Income; College Tuition

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