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Court's imputation of income to father in error where court failed to consider mental disabilities, past criminal conviction

The court held that the trial court did not err in granting sole custody of the parties' child to the defendant-mother, and its best interests findings were not against the great weight of the evidence. However, it erred by imputing income to the plaintiff-father without analyzing all relevant factors. Thus, it affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. The parties divorced and the trial court granted sole legal and physical custody of the parties' daughter to defendant. It also ordered plaintiff to pay child support, calculated with an imputed income of $70,900. On appeal, the court rejected his argument that the trial court's finding that there was no established custodial environment was against the great weight of the evidence. It also found that the record supported the trial court's findings as to factors (b) - (g), and (j). The trial court found that "plaintiff lacked the disposition to give their daughter love, affection, and guidance," that his residence was not as stable as it should have been, that he often put his needs above the child's, and that he suffered from a variety of ailments. The court concluded that "even if the trial court erred in its established custodial environment finding, any error was harmless as there was clear and convincing evidence that awarding custody to defendant" was in the child's best interests. "Because defendant was favored on all the relevant best interest factors where the parties were not equal (seven out of nine), there was clear and convincing evidence that a change in the custodial environment was in the daughter's best interests." However, the court agreed with plaintiff that the trial court erred by imputing an income of $70,900 to him, noting that it made no mention of several relevant factors. "The record does not show that it considered whether plaintiff's mental disabilities" could affect his ability to obtain employment, "did not consider [his] asserted diligence" in seeking appropriate employment, and "did not consider whether [his] conviction for domestic violence would affect his chances of obtaining employment." In an attached order, the court retained jurisdiction, and required the proceedings on remand to commence within 56 days.


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