In Andrews v Andrews, decided by the Michigan court of appeals on March 11, 2008, Husband claimed that the trial court erred in not enforcing a prenuptial agreement that limited alimony to his net income as reflected by his federal tax returns. The trial court imputed income of $300,000/year to H after he transferred his interest in a partnership to his parents, allegedly to repay a $340,000 debt to them.
H wanted the trial court to believe that his transfer of the interest to his parents, which had been reduced to a sum certain in a default judgment, was not a voluntary or bad faith reduction in income that justified imputation. He also claimed that since Wife had not produced evidence directly impeaching his testimony, the trial court had to believe his testimony.
It ain't necessarily so!
Here's what the court of appeals said about Husband's claim:
"We note that defendant argues on appeal that because plaintiff failed to provide objective, physical evidence that he voluntarily reduced his income, the trial court was bound to believe his story. In support, defendant correctly states that “where unimpeached witnesses testify distinctly and positively to a fact and are uncontradicted, their testimony should be credited . . . .” However, it is equally true that “[a] witness may be impeached by exhibiting the improbabilities of his story on cross examination by showing conduct or statements inconsistent with his testimony.” Because effective cross-examination, or
circumstantial evidence, can impeach a witness’ credibility, it has long been the case in this state that a fact finder need not accept as true all uncontradicted testimony. Here, defendant was impeached by his own inconsistent testimony about the reason he
transferred his interest in the Vanda partnership to his parents. Furthermore, his testimony that his parents supplement his income and manage his finances, considered alongside his repeated references to the Vanda partnership money as “his” money, create an inference that he transferred the interest to avoid paying child and spousal support. Therefore, the trial court was not bound to believe defendant’s story." [Citations omitted]
You may read the entire decision Andrews v Andrews , Docket No. 274338 here.