With the economy, the way it is, and more people out of work now than at any time in recent memory, imputing wages is becoming a bigger part of all support cases, including cases involving spousal maintenance claims.
Maintenance is support paid from one spouse to another. It used to be called alimony. While there is a formula which may apply in some divorce cases, the formula only applies to temporary awards of maintenance – awards that expire when the divorce becomes final. There is no formula in Colorado for maintenance beyond the entry of the final divorce decree.
One of the biggest factors courts most often consider is the income of the parties. What do you do when one of the parties is out of work? Prior to the current recession, courts would often “impute” income to the unemployed party based on what they earned before – sometimes more and sometimes less.
Now, we are seeing courts cut some slack for the unemployed parties when it comes to imputing income, in recognition that it really is hard to find a job out there. Occasionally, judges will decide that in this particular case, no income should be imputed at all.
Since imputed income can have a significant impact on support orders, having a full discussion with the court about the present likelihood of a party to earn an income is critical.
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