by Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida
In my continuation of “working the system” in divorce court blogs, I must qualify that I am only licensed to practice law in the State of Florida. Therefore, all my information is based upon Florida law. Marriage and divorce laws change with each state.
In Florida divorces, there is such a thing as “imputation of income”. Income of a husband or a wife is especially important when it comes to issues such as child support, alimony and any request for an award of attorneys fees. PRESENT ability to pay is important for temporary relief hearings pending the actual divorce proceedings.
But at the end of the process, when it comes down to the actual trial, the divorce court judge may look at a party’s earning history over the last three to five years, not just the present day income. As a result of that employment history, the court may “impute” an income to a spouse, and enter a ruling “as if” the spouse was in fact earning that income, even though in reality they are sitting on the beach waiting for this case to be over.
Often, to impute an income, in addition to any earnings history, the judge might also consider a vocation evaluation. That is when a party is evaluated as to their age, health, education and marketable skills set, and the evaluator, as expert witness, testifies as to what that spouse could be earning if employed. The divorce court judge then has the discretion to impute an income to that spouse as if he/she were employed earning that income and enter an order based upon that imputed income.
Vocational evaluations are granted by court order after a motion is made and a hearing is set. They are helpful tools in imputing an income to an under employed or unemployed spouse for purposes of awarding alimony, child support and attorneys fees. For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the divorce lawyers at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561 835 9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at http://www.familylawwpb.com.