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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or through this website.