Child Support and Determining Reasonable and Representaive Income Under the Riddle Case

A Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz we will assure our clients that current law regarding child support and spousal support are applied to any support payments ordered by the Court. Please contact our office for a consultation at 949 735 9266 or via the web. We can also be reached by email at

An experienced child support lawyer will explain the new application of child support law to our clients and make sure that they are not paying more than they should be for child support payments.

A Child support Attorney will explain to their clients that A recent case came down from the appellate court which stated that While we recognize that family lawyers and forensic accountants sometimes use the phrase “cash flow” as a sloppy synonym for the word “income” as it appears in the support statutes, it isn't. In particular, the child support laws. The language was “lifted” straight from the Internal Revenue Code. That means that if the tax laws say you have income because of the forgiveness-of-debt, you have income, and that forgiveness-of-debt income must go into the calculation of adjusted gross income under the family code.

Income Samples Must be Fair and Representative to Determine Fluctuating Income

As regards sampling, the Riddle Court stated that to determine gross income there must be a fair way to do a financial analysis that gives the court a complete picture of the obligating spouses financial picture. The aim of the Judge is to determine income for a spouse using their discretion.

At the Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz we are well educated about the current law on determining what is fair and reasonable as far as determining our clients true income. Courts often try to adjust the annual net adjustable income required for a support order when dividing net disposable income by 12 which often “does not accurately reflect the actual or prospective earnings of the parties.

A Child support lawyer will make sure the court applies the proper law to analyze the income of our client. That means they must determine a child support order “as appropriate to accommodate seasonal or fluctuating income of either parent.” The Court must use discretion that must be a reasonable one, “exercised along legal lines, taking into consideration the circumstances of the parties, their necessities and the financial ability of the supporting spouse.

It is a manifest abuse of discretion to take so small a sliver of time to figure income that the determination essentially becomes arbitrary. And under the facts of this case, no other word but “arbitrary” properly describes the trial court's selection of the last two months to determine Husband's income. A mere two months is an embarrassingly short period on which to predict the annual income of a commissioned salesperson who works in the financial markets.

This Order Cannot be Justified on the Basis of Imputed Income

The court's math and statistical errors were brought to the trial court's attention by formal objections to the court's tentative ruling. In a hearing on the objections the court alluded to the idea that income should be imputed to Husband based on his historical earnings.

The simple answer to this issue is that there is nothing in this record on which to predicate an imputed income award.

At the Orange County Law Office of David P Schwarz we will apply the most recent case law to our clients determination of current child support obligations and make sure that they are not being taken advantage of by the family law court. Please contact our office for a consultation at 949 735 9255 or via the web.

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