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What happens if parent reduces income for child support purposes?

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2022 | Child Support |

Parents in Florida may not always be thrilled about the costs they need to pay for their children’s needs, but it is something that they are required to do. This is true whether parents are married, divorced or in situations where they were never married. It is also important that both parents are contributing to their children’s financial needs. To ensure that this occurs when the parents are no longer together, one parent may be required to pay the other child support.

The amount that a parent will need to pay depends on a few factors, but one of the main factors is the parents’ income. The more parents earn, the more they will need to pay. Parents who do not want to pay as much child support to the other parent may want to reduce their income at least until child support has been established. They may choose to quit a job and take a lower paying job or cut back hours at their current employment to earn less. This can be difficult for the children and the other parent who need the child support to provide for their children’s needs.

How judges impute income to underemployed parents

To help prevent this from occurring, judges are allowed to impute income to parents who are voluntarily underemployed or unemployed. When determining the amount of income to impute to a voluntarily underemployed parent, the judge will look at the parents’ work history and past earning capacity, their education and training, the amount people with the parents’ work qualifications typically earn in the area and other relevant factors.

Once the imputed income is determined, the judge will use that amount when determining child support not the current earnings of the parent. Most of the time, this will force parents to go back to earning what they are capable of earning.

Child support determinations in Florida can be complicated. While there are guidelines and ways to calculate the child support obligation, there are different factors, such as voluntarily underemployed parents, which can make it more difficult to determine a parent’s income. Experienced attorneys understand the various complications that can arise and may be able to guide one through the process.