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Birmingham Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Alimony > Can The Court Decide How Much You Should Earn And How Much You Should Spend?

Can The Court Decide How Much You Should Earn And How Much You Should Spend?


Imputed income is often a contentious issue in divorce cases.  To determine alimony or child support obligations, the court considers each party’s income, as proven by financial disclosures the parties submit to the court.  Usually, the court bases the alimony amount on the income stated by each spouse.  Sometimes, though, you can argue that one of the spouses is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, meaning that the paying spouse should pay more or the recipient spouse should receive less.  A Birmingham alimony lawyer can help you get alimony based on how much money you earn, not based on how much your ex-spouse thinks you should earn.

Love Makes a Family, but Money Tears It Apart

A family court in Alabama ruled on a case where the ex-husband disputed the amount of alimony that the court ordered him to pay his ex-wife.  When the couple met, the wife was a widowed mother of three minor children, and the husband worked an average of 60 hours per week as a truck driver, as he would continue to do throughout the relationship.  The wife and her children moved into the husband’s home in 2003, and she contributed to the mortgage payments with income from her job.  The husband became a father figure to the wife’s children even before the couple married in 2009.

The trouble started when the wife lost her job in 2012 and got worse in 2013, when she was injured in a car accident.  She eventually got a personal injury settlement and used some of it to contribute to household expenses, but she never returned to the workforce.  The husband sometimes argued with her about it, claiming that her pain was not bad enough to prevent her from working.  When the parties divorced in 2015, the court did not impute additional income to the wife; it based its calculations on her disability income.

By the time the parties divorced, the wife’s children had all reached adulthood.  The wife’s grandchildren, the children of her son, were living with her, pursuant to a court order.  The wife was presumably a source of financial support for the grandchildren, but this was not a factor in the alimony award.  From the court’s perspective, financially supporting extended family members is a choice, not an unavoidable expense.  Even in cases where the grandchildren are related by blood or adoption to both former spouses, the court does not take their expenses into account when calculating alimony.  Similarly, contributing to the college tuition or other expenses of your adult children is not an unavoidable expense, and the court will not order your ex-spouse to subsidize your contributions by paying more alimony.

Contact Peeples Law About Divorce Cases Involving Imputed Income

A Birmingham family law attorney can help you if your ex-spouse is accusing you of faking or exaggerating your symptoms and lying about your inability to work.  Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.



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