It is sometimes necessary for the court to impute an income to either party in order to properly calculate that parties’ child support obligation.
Section 61.30(2), Florida Statutes provides in part that “monthly income shall be imputed to an unemployed or underemployed parent if such unemployment or underemployment is found by the court to be voluntary on that parent’s part.”
The court will consider the parent’s employment potential and probable earnings level based upon that parent’s recent work history, occupational qualifications and prevailing earnings level in the community.
As part of the “imputing income” process, a Florida court (typically in a child support case) will perform a two-step analysis before deciding whether to impute income to a parent. First, the court must determine whether the parent’s termination from employment was voluntary. That is, did the parent “walk off” the job without justification. Also, the court will consider whether there is a physical or mental incapacity or other circumstances over which the parent has no control. Second, the court must determine whether the individual’s subsequent unemployment or underemployment resulted from the parent’s pursuit of his or her own interest or through less than diligent and bona-fide efforts to find employment paying income at a level equal to or better than they formerly earned.
By performing this above analysis, the court can make sure that a parties’ child support obligation is properly calculated. The statute mentions variations and stipulations which we would be happy to discuss, should you be interested in a free initial consultation.
To learn more about imputed income as it relates to child support or other family law issues call the Law Office of James T. Keenan at 904-359-9060 for a free initial consultation.