Taggar v. Taggar: Spousal Support and Imputing Income

In this case, the husband sought (i) a reduction in child support because his income decreased by $20,000.00, (ii) better disclosure from the wife regarding her current income and her plans to find employment, and (iii) the return of his belongings.

The husband’s child support payments were reduced and Justice Flynn left it to the trial judge to determine the return of the husband’s belongings. The main issue in this case is the responsibility of both parties to show their efforts to find employment.

The husband’s child support payments were reduced because the husband showed that his decrease in income was the result of extenuating circumstances, and through no fault of his own. He was also able to show that, although unsuccessful, he made efforts to increase his income.

The wife, on the other hand, showed no efforts to maximize her employment opportunities. With regards to her income, she merely stated that she had none. As a result, an income of $15,000.00 (an amount that she was believed to have earned as a dance and yoga instructor) was imputed and she was ordered to provide documentary evidence of her efforts to maximize her income.

This case shows that, when no children or other dependents require full-time care, both parties have an obligation to make efforts to find and maximize employment and educational opportunities. This obligation applies equally to parties who are already employed and to those who did not work during the marriage.

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  1. This case provides yet another example of the emphasis that the Courts will put upon self-support and the clean break principle of Family Law. This case is a caution to would-be recipients of spousal support that, if they intend to seek such support, they must be prepared for the spotlight to be cast upon them as well, and have their financial circumstances and employment prospects examined as well. While this is unfair on some level, it does reiterate the obligation of even recipients of spousal support to make efforts to support themselves as well. Ultimately, Justice Flynn imputed an income to the wife, however, this case provides an example of a fair amount of income to imputed, in my opinion. It is all too often that spouses seek to impute income to one another based on arbitrary and unattainable figures. To assume that a primary parent of three (3) children under ten (10) years old who worked as a part-time dance and yoga instructor during the marriage is capable of earning $30,000.00 per annum is unrealistic. Justice Flynn took a common sense approach in imputing an income of $15,000.00, which is attainable given the wife’s earning potential as an instructor. In this case, the Court ensured that spousal support works as it should – the wife is encouraged to contribute to her own support, however, she is compensated for her valuable work within the home. I believe that this is a very fair decision.

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