Imputing Income to a Non-Working Spouse in a Florida Child Support Case

In many court disputes involving children, child support is a key issue. Calculating the correct amount of child support can be complicated if one of the parents is not working. If the parent is unable to work, the court may proceed with calculating support based that parent’s having zero income. If the parent is able to work, however, the court must do what’s called “imputing” income to that parent. That means calculating child support as if that parent is receiving an income that he or she isn’t actually getting, and it can make a big difference in the outcome of your child support case. Whether you are potentially paying support or seeking it for your child, make sure you have the services of an experienced Florida child support attorney on your side.

Jennifer and Miguel were two parents whose child support case presented an imputed income issue. They had a child together who was born in 2009. In 2010, the father initiated a paternity action, and the court awarded him majority timesharing. The mother had been employed by the sheriff’s office but lost that job due to alleged misconduct, including misusing electronic resources of the sheriff’s office in order to obtain information about the father’s attorneys and his girlfriend.

In his court case, the father argued that the court should impute income to the mother and should do so at the relatively substantial amount she was making with the sheriff’s office when she was terminated. The mother, on the other hand, asserted that she was disabled and that, because of her disabilities and her inability to find another job, the court should not impute any income at all to her.

The trial judge determined that the proper method for setting child support in this case was somewhere between the two parents’ arguments. The court concluded that income should be imputed to the mother, but only at the level of minimum wage.

Both parents appealed, but the ruling stood. With regard to the mother’s argument, the appeals court explained that the total volume of evidence did not back up her argument. She asserted that she could not work because she was disabled. As the court pointed out, the evidence showed that she had worked consistently for a decade with the same disabilities she maintained prevented her from finding a job now. The mother had the ability to work but had simply not performed an adequate job search.

On the other hand, the evidence before the court didn’t back up the father’s contention either. The father wanted income imputed at the amount the mother was making with the sheriff’s office. The mother, however, had evidence that due to the circumstances of her termination, she could not get another job in law enforcement, which meant she would not be able to get a job that would pay her the earnings she had been making when she was fired.

Your child support case, regardless of the role you have, is a very important one. Make sure you are armed with the skilled representation you need. The diligent South Florida child support attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. are here to provide you with the advice and representation you need. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation.

More blog posts:

Imputing Income to a Parent in Florida, Even When that Parent Has a Disability, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Oct. 12, 2017

Overcoming Your Ex-Spouse’s Claim that Your Choice of Career Constitutes Voluntary Underemployment in Florida, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, Sept. 13, 2017


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