Child support is calculated initially by adding together each of the parties respective gross incomes. What can you do if one of the parties is out of work and unemployed? Do you have the right to impute income to the unemployed parent?
Florida law authorizes a court to impute monthly income to a voluntarily unemployed parent. Florida Statute 61.30(2)(b) authorizes the imputation of income.
A trial court must engage in a two-step process when they are asked to impute income to an unemployed parent. First, the court must conclude that the termination of income was voluntary. An example of voluntary employment occurs when you are terminated from your employment based on your own actions or misconduct. See the case of Heard v. Perales ( Florida 4th DCA 2015) for a further discussion on this topic.
Second, once a court determines that the unemployment was voluntary, the court must then consider whether “the subsequent unemployment” resulted from the spouse’s pursuit of his or her own interests or through less than diligent and bona fide efforts to find employment paying income at a level equal to or better than that formerly received.” Diligence or lack thereof in seeking employment is the key to the second step.
If you are looking to impute income to your spouse, the trial court places that burden of proof squarely on your shoulders. You must prove both employability and that jobs are available to your spouse. See the case of Durand v. Durand, 16 So.3rd 982, 985 (Florida 4th DCA 2009).
The welfare of your minor child in a divorce case should be your primary concern. Maximizing the child support that you will be collecting for the benefit of your child should not be overlooked. Every factor involved in the computation of child support should be carefully examined, and Boca Raton Divorce Attorney Alan R. Burton has the experience you need to assist you in maximizing the child support you receive. Call Attorney Alan R. Burton today at 954–295–9222 for a free consultation and assistance with your case.