Ability to earn is the idea that a support order
is based on someone's earning capacity as opposed to their actual income.
It is exactly that. If you can establish that he could be earning $60,000 a year by working normal hours (not an unreasonable amount of over time) then, whether or not he actually is, that is what amount is used to set the support figure.
The idea behind this is that you don't want someone refusing to work just to deny you child support.
As far as ability to pay, that is a factor that is taken into account when determining the amount of child support, but it is more concerned with the expenses than the income. Say the husband should earn $60,000 and has reasonable annual expenses of $70,000... then he has little or no ability to pay. That doesn't necessarily mean they won't order him to pay anything or determine that the $70,000 in expenses aren't reasonable. Say, however, his expenses were $40,000 and he should be making $60,000. Then he should have the ability to pay. It doesn't matter whether he actually makes the $60,000 although the burden would be on you to prove that he should be making that much.
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