March 2020 | No. W2018-02163-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. 2020)

Wright v. Wright (Tennessee 2020)

When imputing income to parents, the court can consider factors including education and the reason for any change in employment. The parents filed for divorce. They had one child. The father had a history of high paying jobs, but was working as a part-time consultant at the time of the trial. The court imputed an income of $144,000 per year to him. This amount was less than his highest paying job but more than his actual income. The mother, a licensed attorney, had never practiced in Tennessee, but testified she could probably find a job that paid $50,000. The court imputed her at $2,000 per month. The father appealed the imputation of income as well as other findings. On the imputation of income, the appellate court found the father was voluntarily underemployed but that $144,000 was not an appropriate amount of income to impute. The appellate court found the evidence and the father’s testimony supported an income of $100,000 per year. The trial court also found that the mother was voluntarily underemployed. According to her testimony, she could earn at least $50,000 per year, and this amount was consistent with her education.

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