The court must impute income to a parent who is unemployed or underemployed, if the unemployment or underemployment is voluntary on that parent's part. To determine the amount of child support the court will consider the potential and probable earnings level of the parent as determined by his or her recent work history, occupational qualifications, and earnings level in the community.
If the information concerning a parent's income is unavailable, a parent fails to participate in the child support proceeding, or the parent fails to supply adequate financial information, income will be automatically imputed to the parent. This creates a rebuttable presumption that the parent's income is equivalent to the median income of a year-round full-time worker as determined by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In order to impute any other amount of income, other than the median income as described above, the burden of proof is on the party seeking to impute income, to prove the non-paying party's unemployment or underemployment is voluntary, that the amount and source of income from available employment for which the party is qualified by education, experience, licensure, or geographic location. The court may not impute income based upon income records that are more than 5 years old or income at a level a party has never earned.