BALAJ v. BALAJ (App Div. 2nd Dep’t)

Upon appeal, the Appellate Court found that the Supreme Court providently exercised its discretion in distributing plaintiff’s Schwab stock account and in determining the proper imputed income to the plaintiff used for calculating maintenance and support obligations.  Income may be imputed to a party based on factors including educational background, past earnings, and employment potential.

The Appellate Court affirmed the decision to award the defendant 50% of the shares in the plaintiff’s Schwab stock account after plaintiff received a credit for separate property.  The shares were marital property because they represented converted shares of bonuses which were part of plaintiff’s income earned during the marriage.  Additionally, the Supreme Court was correct in imputing income to the plaintiff of $150,000 per year.  Although this amount is lower than the plaintiff’s historical earnings, plaintiff provided credible evidence of a downturn in his field of employment.