Guess what: My income just went down!

loss of income, hiding income

By Attorney Howard Iken: There is something going around. It is like a cold, but is not a cold. It is like stomach flu, but is not stomach flu. It is contagious, appears quickly, and comes on strong. When it subsides it is almost just as quick. One moment it is here – next moment it is gone. There are definite seasons or periods of occurrence. It can reoccur at intervals. And the timing of onset and recovery coincide with certain types of court cases.

The condition that comes and goes, and coincides with

court cases is known to attorneys as RAID Syndrome.  That’s right, RAID Syndrome – like the bug spray. Except in this case RAID has a definite meaning:

recently acquired income deficiencyRecently Acquired Income Deficiency

We family law attorneys have to have some amusement because we work with the most frustrating situations in legal practice. And I would have to say RAID syndrome is one of the more frustrating issues.

Here is how it goes: In many child support and alimony cases the two sides not only argue against the existence of support – but also argue on the amount of support. And any time money will change hands the amount of available income becomes a huge thing.  For child support the absolute amount is strictly dependent on each parent’s income. For spousal support the amount of income weighs heavily on the final determination. The higher the income the higher the support. The lower the income …..  I think you get it.

But in some cases the potential payer of support may come down with RAID syndrome. Normally the signs appear sometime before the case starts. Income goes down, down, and further down. The causes are varied: sudden job loss, misc bad fortune, illness, and catastrophe. The symptoms are unexplainable and seem to always coincide with the beginning of a case.  The cure seems to appear sometime after the end of a case. Income rises, the case is done, and everything starts to look rosy.

The solution is something called “imputation of income”, a subject reserved for a later article. That is a mechanism judges can use to offset RAID syndrome. The problem is that imputation of income equals a very difficult and expensive case. We will revisit this issue at some point in the near future.

Meanwhile, be sure to visit us to discuss RAID syndrome and imputation of income.

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