August 01, 2020 Feature

Pounding the Pavement: Employment Transitions During Divorce

Meredith Laughridge Cross

Earning Capacity

What does “earning capacity” mean?

In the context of a divorce, earning capacity relates to a spouse’s present or future ability to earn an income. The parties’ respective earning capacities are relevant when there is a claim for support. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a spouse’s earning capacity can be based either on the income a spouse presently earns or upon evidence of a spouse’s ability to earn an income. When a spouse is intentionally depressing his/her income and/or is refusing to work to avoid paying support, the court may use other evidence of a party’s earning capacity to determine income. This evidence may include, but is not limited to, a spouse’s educational history, skills, talent, and experience in the workforce.

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