In awarding alimony, income can be imputed to an unemployed spouse under certain circumstances. In McDuffie v. McDuffie, the Florida Court of Appeal recently stated: “To impute income for the purposes of child support and alimony, a trial court must first find the parent is voluntarily underemployed or unemployed, not due to a physical or mental incapacity or other circumstance beyond the parent’s control. § 61.30(2)(b), Fla. Stat.; Swain v. Swain, 932 So. 2d 1214,1215 (Fla. 1st DCA 2006). If the court makes this finding, it must impute income. § 61.30(2)(b), Fla. Stat.; Shrove v. Shrove, 724 So. 2d 679,682 (Fla. 4th DCA 1999). To support the amount, the parent’ s employment potential and probable earnings level must be based on “particularized findings relating to the current job market,… recent work history,… occupational qualifications, and the prevailing earnings level in the local community.”
The actual amount of income to impute is more problematic. It is unclear where Mr. McDuffie derived the $10 per hour, full-time job and income he advocated for. What is clear is that the record is devoid of support for this figure. There is no evidence of the local job market, the area minimum wage, or the type of job the former wife could secure that would pay $ 10 per hour. The former wife had close to no work history during the parties’ more than fourteen-year marriage. The only evidentiary support for a $ 10 per hour, full-time job and the former wife’s ability to secure it is that the former wife has a bachelor’s degree in biology with a chemistry minor, which she obtained prior to the marriage. These facts are not competent, substantial evidence of the current job market, work history, occupational qualifications, and the prevailing earnings level in the local community…Finally, while the court did not abuse its discretion in distributing the parties’ credit card and loan debt equally, the court did not delineate how each party would be responsible. Instead, it simply listed each account and allocated half of the total money to each spouse. On remand, the court is instructed to revise the final judgment to allocate each account so as to accomplish equal distribution, or provide for how and to whom the former wife is to pay her half, or devise some other delineated system for allocating responsibility for the debt and the method of payment.
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