Florida law allows a court to impute income to a non-working spouse for purposes of determining whether to award alimony and the amount of alimony to award.

Here are factors Florida courts consider when imputing income to voluntarily unemployed spouses:

1)      Is the unemployment voluntary?

2)      Is the voluntary unemployment due to physical or mental incapacity?

3)     Are there young children requiring the unemployed parent to stay at home? The presence of children in the home does not preclude imputation of income, but a Florida court may refuse to impute income to a voluntarily unemployed spouse parenting children at home.

4)      When looking at the unemployed spouse’s earning potential and possible earnings level, the court considers:

a)      Recent work history.

b)      Occupation qualifications.

c)      Health of the unemployed spouse.

d)      Age of the unemployed spouse.

e)      Earning levels in the community for positions the unemployed spouse is qualified to perform.

f)       Availability of suitable work for the unemployed spouse.

The spouse seeking to impute income, usually the spouse who may be ordered to pay alimony, has the burden to establish the unemployed spouse’s unemployment was voluntary and the level of income  the court should impute to the unemployed spouse. Considering this burden, the spouse seeking to impute income should be diligent in discovery and obtain all relevant past employment information related to the unemployed spouse (the last five years are the most relevant). After obtaining all of the pertinent information, an expert should be retained to review information obtained in discovery and draft a report with an opinion detailing the level of income to impute to the unemployed spouse. To successfully impute income, it is vital to present solid evidence supported by an expert’s opinion.

If you have questions about imputed income in a divorce action in Florida, please contact Attorney Christopher (“Chris”) Taylor to schedule a free consultation. The Taylor Law Office phone number is 904.339.LAW8 (5298) or send an e-mail to jaxtaylorlaw@gmail.com, or through this website.

When studying my web analytics I frequently see the term “cheap divorce lawyer” being input in search engines by people living in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Jacksonville is a fairly typical American city, so I suspect the search term is common in other areas of the country as well.

Why is the term “cheap” and “lawyer” searched so often? Are people cheap? The simple answer would be yes, but if you dig a little deeper you will get the complete picture.

Statistics aside, America is still in a recession nearly four years after the financial collapse of 2008. Jobs are still scarce. Employers have learned to do more with less people.

In addition to the macro-economic environment that is causing uncertainty, divorce is an expensive proposition. Even in affluent households, the prospect of creating two independent households with a reasonable standard of living with the same income source is a daunting prospect.

The factors listed above are obviously enough to cause a person to search for an “affordable divorce attorney”, but I am of the opinion that the reason is usually deeper than economic conditions alone. The reason has more to do with uncertainty surrounding the divorce process and what is a fair price related to the services a lawyer provides.

Since I am familiar with the legal process, I personally know what fair billing for legal services looks like; however, when it comes to something like auto repair, I’m in the dark. When I take my car to the shop, I’m concerned about whether the shop is honest and charges a fair price. My concerned is rooted in the fact I only have a vague notion of what needs to be done to my car.  I have no way of knowing whether the repair shop is billing me for something I do not need.

Legal services are a lot like auto repair, it tough to know if you are receiving good value.  A trusted lawyer is a lot like a trusted mechanic. You usually feel good about the service you receive from both.

Here are some things to consider when looking for an affordable divorce lawyer:

1)      What does the lawyer’s overhead look like when you walk in the office?

2)      Does the lawyer leverage technology effectively? An entire article could be written about this topic. The reason I repeatedly bring up technology on my blog, website and videos is the use of technology can literally save law offices tens of thousands a year on operational expense, all while delivering a higher quality product. The smart practioner will pass these savings on to his or her clients.

Here is an example:  Storing paper legal files is expensive. A lawyer must pay for the square footage to house the files, pay a file clerk to organize the files and take time to find documents in cabinets. With a paperless office, everything is stored digitally in a secure cloud based storage area. When a lawyer needs to review a document or a client needs his or her file, everything is a click away.

3)      How long has the lawyer been practicing? While there is no bright line correlation between experience and efficiency, generally speaking, more experienced lawyers will get things done more efficiently, because they have been through the process repeatedly.

If you have questions about cheap divorce and live in the Jacksonville, Clay County or St. Johns County, contact attorney Chris Taylor  to schedule a free consultation. Chris is happy to sit down with you and discuss your case. Please contact The Taylor Law Office at 904.339.LAW8 (5298), via e-mail at ctaylor@thetaylorlawofficefl.com, or through this website by clicking on the Contact Page above.

For more information about The Taylor Law Office’s approach to the divorce process, visit: http://www.jacksonvilledivorcelawattorney.com/divorce.html

I frequently receive calls in my Jacksonville, Florida office asking to explain the term “simplified divorce.” Basically, a Florida simplified divorce is about streamlined forms and procedures. It is an easy way to get a divorce; of course, in the context of divorce, easy is a relative term.

The requirements for a simplified divorce are as follows:

Simplified Divorce in Jacksonville, Florida

a) The marriage is irretrievably broken.

b) At least one spouse has lived in Florida six months prior to filing the divorce.

c) Complete agreement on division of assets and debts.

d) Agreement that neither spouse will pay alimony.

e) The parties do not have children, and the wife is not pregnant.

f) The parties are willing to waive their right to trial and appeal

g) You and your spouse are both willing to notarize the petition.

h) Both parties are willing to attend the final hearing.

Simplified divorce reduces paperwork because both parties file a Petition (so no response is necessary). Simplified divorce also does not require a financial affidavit or written marital settlement agreement, although both may be submitted.  If husband and wife waive a marital settlement agreement and financial affidavit, call the court clerk to set a final hearing, the only forms that will need to be completed and filed are:

1)      Family Court Cover Sheet

2)      Petition

3)      Proposed Final Judgment

The streamlined procedures of a simplified divorce make the most sense for childless couples who have been married for a short period of time with little or no assets and debts.

If you have questions about simplified divorce in Florida, please contact The Taylor Law Office  at 904.339.LAW8 (5298), via e-mail at ctaylor@thetaylorlawofficefl.com  or through this website.