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Disability & Child Support

Income includes several items along with just wages when determining the final income that is used to calculate child support.  For example, disability income can be used.  Disability income to one parent is calculated in the child support guidelines.  Any disability received to a minor due to a parent’s disability should go to that minor and that counts as an offset of what the payor is responsible for in child support costs.  If the payor has to pay more to cover child support costs, then the payor must pay the parent with majority timesharing more child support.  Likewise, if the disability support received from the government to the children on behalf of the parent’s disability is larger than the child support amount due, then the payor would get a credit.  Many individuals come into my Tampa office and are under the impression that they don’t have the pay any child support because they are disabled.  That’s simply not the case.  If someone is disabled, first it’s necessary to find out what percentage they are disabled.  More than likely the children of that parent will get a check from the government because of their parent’s disability.

I often see parties that are either voluntarily underemployed or voluntarily unemployed.  This happens a lot when people decide to quit their jobs before filing a divorce case or soon after to avoid paying child support or alimony.  Many people think they are unique in doing something of this nature but the judge’s have seen this time and time again.  More than likely, the judge will impute the same income that the party was previously making at his/her previous job.

By statute, the state of Florida believes that everyone, unless on disability, is able to work and should at least be working minimum wage.  Therefore, minimum wage is imputed to them.  If a party fails to cooperate with submitted information necessary to calculate child support guidelines, Florida Statues allows a judge to impute the median amount of income for a male/female per the US Census Bureau, which is approximately $48,000. 

There are times when a vocational expert may be needed to testify as to what a party is capable of making given his or her experience, education and jobs available in the community.  This helps the judge tremendously in imputing income to an underemployed spouse and thus determining what alimony and/or child support should be.   

To learn more about disability, child support or imputation of income, please contact an experience Tampa divorce attorney. 


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This post was written by Mindi Lasley