In a recent child support case involving unmarried parents, the mother attempted to impute income to the father. The father lost his job as a commodity broker as a result of his misappropriation of funds. The mother introduced a report from a vocational expert in an attempt to impute income to the father.
In a case captioned, Damask v. Ryabchenko, the Florida Court of Appeal began by pointing out that Florida’s child support guideline presumptively set forth the amount that trial courts should award as child support in initial proceedings and modification proceedings. The child support guidelines can be also used to provide a basis to prove that there has been a substantial change of circumstances that warrants a modification of child support.
Income should be imputed to unemployed or underemployed parents when their unemployment or underemployment is voluntary. If a parent is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, the parent’s probable earnings are determined based upon his or her recent earnings, qualifications, and prevailing earnings in the community. The party seeking to impute income has the burden of proving that the other party’s unemployment or underemployment was voluntary, and must provide evidence to the court that income is available to the payor from employment for which he or she is qualified by education, experience, and geographic location. In determining geographic location, consideration should be given to the parties’ custody and visitation schedule and the parties historical utilization of time-sharing with their children.