Breining-Pruitt v. Westfahl (Nebraska 2019)

No. A-18-398 (Neb. Ct. App. 2019)
February 2019

When calculating income for child support, a parent’s earning capacity can be used instead of their actual income. Earning capacity is determined from work history, education, occupational skills, and job opportunities. The father appealed a district court order which set child support. He argued the district court didn’t properly calculate the mother’s income. Testimony showed the mother was working 20 hours per week for $10 per hour. The minimum wage in the state where mother lived was $9.33 per hour. The district court figured her earning capacity for a 40 hour a week job at the local minimum wage. The father argued the court should have applied her current hourly rate of $10. The appellate court found no abuse of discretion in the numbers used to determine the mother’s income. The appellate court found that even if the district court had used $10 per hour, the difference was minor.