Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Indiana Child Support Case: Underemployment (Saalfrank v. Saalfrank)

The Indiana Court of Appeals gave us a new decision on underemployment and calculating child support. The case is Brenda Saalfrank v. Scott Saalfrank (PDF format). I find this paragraph most interesting:

Mother worked full-time as a registered nurse at a hospital until 2002, when she earned $53,081. Because Mother‘s hospital gave cost-of-living adjustments to nurses, if she had remained employed at the hospital, then her 2007 income would have been at least $60,811. From 2003 through 2006, she worked part-time for the Doctor, performing clerical work. She earned no income in 2007, but her nursing license was still active. Father introduced summaries of nursing positions available in January 2008, compiled by two hospitals. The trial court found Mother to be voluntarily unemployed. While not remarried, Mother, Doctor, B.S., A.S., and the Subsequent Children lived together. Mother did not pay for housing or utilities. Finally, while Mother testified at the hearing that working full-time would cause her to have day-care expenses for her two Subsequent Children, she submitted no evidence regarding the amount of such expenses. She therefore failed to meet her burden of proof as to that assertion. Based upon the evidence, the record contained support for the trial court‘s decision to include Mother‘s potential earnings in calculating her Weekly Gross Income.

I added the emphasis. Interesting that the trial court and the Court of Appeals had no problem with the evidence presented of possible employment for mother. With nursing, I suspect compiling this sort of evidence is a bit easier than with other types of employment.

Remember, if you want more information about retaining me for a case, please give me a call at 765-641-7906.


Anonymous said...

I'm moving to a higher cost of living area of the US (DC)at the same pay. It's a 40% cost of living increase compared to Fort Wayne, IN...is there anyway to compensate for this higher cost of living in DC when figuring child support?

Chris S mruspm@yahoo.com

Sam Hasler said...

Not in the mechanics of the calculations but in asking the court to deviate from the Guidelines.