Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support

When a parent is not working, how is Florida child support calculated? The Florida Statutes state "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, absent a finding of fact by the court of physical or mental incapacity or other circumstances over which the parent has no control." We see this statute applied in the case Heard v. Perales, 4D17-3115 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018). 

This case was on appeal for the second time after the trial court made an error in calculating or imputing income for child support. The mother claimed she was unable to work because her disability required special accommodations that could not be made by prospective employers. However, the evidence showed the mother worked for 10 years earning substantial income despite her disability and that she was not precluded from obtaining employment albeit not at the same earning level as before.

The court found the mother's attempts to secure other employment insufficient, but it rejected the father's assertion that she should be imputed to the income she was earning prior to being terminated from her previous position. The trial court then imputed minimum wage to the mother since it was inappropriate to impute her to zero and to impute her to the level of previous income in light of the evidence. 

The appellate court agreed with the trial court's decision, holding there was no abuse of discretion based on the considerations made by the court. Imputation of income is a delicate matter that should not be handled without a Miami child support lawyer's assistance. Schedule your consultation today to determine the best way to proceed.