Unemployment and Child Support

What happens when one party who is responsible for paying child support is either unemployed or underemployed? Are they still responsible for making payments? The short answer is always YES, when the parent is either voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.

Monthly income shall be imputed to an unemployed or underemployed parent if the unemployment or underemployment is voluntary. A finding of physical or mental incapacity or other circumstances over which the parent has no control is not considered voluntary. § 61.30(b), Fla. Stat. Upon a finding that the parent is voluntarily unemployed / underemployed, earnings shall be imputed based upon recent work history, occupational qualifications, and prevailing earnings level in the community, if such information is available. § 6 l.30(b), Fla. Stat.

Pursuant §61.30, Fla. Stat. provides that if a parent’s income is unavailable, or if a parent fails to participate in a child support proceeding, or fails to supply adequate financial information in a child support proceeding, income shall automatically be imputed to the parent. There is a rebuttable presumption that the parent has income equivalent to the median income of year-round full-time workers as derived from the current population reports or replacement reports published by the United States Bureau of the Census.

The party seeking to impute income at an amount other than the median income has the burden to present competent, substantial evidence that

  1. The unemployment or underemployment is voluntary; and
  2. Identifies the amount and source of the imputed income, through evidence of income from available employment for which the party is suitably qualified by education, experience, current licensure, or geographic location, with due consideration being given to the parties’ time-sharing schedule and their historical exercise of the time-sharing provided in the parenting plan or relevant order.

Don’t just assume that the other parent does not have to pay you child support because they are unemployed or underemployed. If you have any questions regarding child support or any other family law issue, then please contact my office for more information. My office is in Jacksonville, but I proudly serve clients throughout Florida.

Beckus Law Firm
7545 Centurion Parkway
Suite #303

Jacksonville, Florida
Office: 904.448.5335

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