Legal Question in Family Law in Indiana

Modification of Support at the wage rate of a registered nurse?

I have had custody for 3 1/4 yrs. and ex-wife is ordered to pay $50.00 a week in support. Since we have had custody all she has talked about is going to school and getting her degree as a registered nurse. She has made few attempts to attend school and she has been unsuccessful. We have a statement where she felt that if she did get a better paying job or education we would only take her to court for more money. I feel that she makes herself fail so she doesn't have to pay more. My question is this, can we request the court to modify support at the hourly wage of a registered nurse, due to her statement, that she did not want to better herself because she doesn't want to pay more in support? She can't keep her support up and yet she is planning a 15 day vacation with her sons this coming summer. What is the possibility of our succeeding in our filing if we filed such a request?

Asked on 12/30/03, 12:48 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Mary Ann Wunder Wunder & Wunder

Re: Modification of Support at the wage rate of a registered nurse?

The support guidelines allow for imputation of income of a person earning less than they should by means of employment. You cannot be guaranteed to have income imputed at a specific wage level if the person does not have the education, but depending upon the amount of time this person has been pursuing a degree, it may be time to bring this matter to the court's attention for a little pep talk about the importance of contribution from both parents. No one can project the "success" of any litigation, however, with the facts you presented you have a reasonably good chance to show the judge that she is not appropriately utilizing her resources.

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Answered on 1/05/04, 9:15 pm

Jonathan Schiff Self employed

Re: Modification of Support at the wage rate of a registered nurse?

It's possible, I suppose, to prove through such statements that she is deliberately refusing compensation in order to keep her support payments low.

The statute allows the court to consider, the term is "impute," income that the parent can earn but chooses not to. I am not certain, however, if the Courts in Ohio will impute higher income because the parent refuses to go back to school in order to qualify for a better job. It's also possible that the mother might have a number of arguments to make about why she can't go back to school that have nothing to do with the support obligation.

What I am saying is that I am not sure. But, it's probably worth trying.

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Answered on 1/02/04, 9:16 pm

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