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Income Imputation: How It Could Affect Your Case if Your Ex Refuses to Seek Employment

Sometimes in family law proceedings, one party is rightfully owed child support and/or alimony, or a court order establishing child support/alimony is already in place, but the other party claims to be unable to pay the support due to the underemployment or unemployment. While many factors beyond the scope of any individual’s control, such as factors related to the economic downturn, could affect employment situations, some parties in family law cases intentionally seek underemployment or unemployment in order to avoid being on the hook for child support and/or alimony payments, so they can claim that they have no ability to pay support.

Fortunately, Florida law provides a means of recourse for those on the losing end of this scenario. If the Court finds that a parent is underemployed or unemployed by choice, then it may impute income to the underemployed or unemployed party. This means that the Court can essentially base child support and alimony off the income figure that that parent could be making if he/she were fully employed. The Court will figure the amount to be imputed based on the party's recent work history, occupational qualifications, and the average earnings level of the community in which they live, if such information is available.

If information concerning a party's income is unavailable, or if he or she refuses to participate in an evidentiary hearing regarding the issues or comply in providing the necessary financial information in such a proceeding, then the Court will automatically impute income to the party under the assumption that the party is capable of earning the median income of year-round full-time workers in their area. The information regarding median income is supplied by the Census Bureau.

While it is helpful to be apprised of the law in this area, it is important to seek the representation of a family law attorney. The information used to impute income must be based on substantial competent evidence. A family law attorney can prove your case for the best possible results.

In addition to child support and alimony matters, our firm also takes on cases involving divorce, custody battles, relocation issues, domestic violence injunctions, will and probate, criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. While our main office is in Gainesville, we also handle family law matters through our satellite offices in Ocala, Chiefland, Lake City, and Palatka.

For help with your legal issue, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com

BY: Stephanie N. Mack, Board Certified Marital & Family Law Attorney

October 22, 2012
 
 
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