Determining Income For Divorce Purposes
Calculating income plays a critical role in the determination of some very important divorce-related issues, including alimony and child support. Although Florida law specifies what kinds of things will qualify as income, calculating it can still be complicated. To learn more about determining income for the purposes of divorce, reach out to our legal team today.
What Qualifies as Income?
Under Florida law, income is specifically defined as any form of payment to an individual, regardless of its source. This includes, but isn’t limited to:
- Wages and salary;
- Commissions and bonuses, as well as overtime payments and tips;
- Business income from self-employment, partnerships, and independent contracts;
- Workers’ compensation and disability benefits;
- Annuity and retirement benefits, including pensions;
- Investments, including rental income, royalties, trusts, dividends, and interest payments;
- Any payments made by an individual, private company, or government agency;
- Social Security benefits; and
- Spousal support from another relationship.
Some forms of payments are also specifically excluded from the definition of income, including disability benefits for veterans.
Courts are even willing to impute income, or assume how much a person makes when it is obvious that the person in question is purposely and voluntarily remaining unemployed or underemployed in an effort to avoid paying alimony or child support. In these cases, the court will take a few factors into account when imputing income, including:
- Employment potential;
- Probable earnings levels;
- Recent work history;
- Occupational qualifications; and
- The prevailing earnings level in the community for similar employment.
If a person fails to provide enough information for a court to accurately apply and assess these factors to a particular case, then a judge will automatically impute an income to that party that is the equivalent of the median income of year-round, full-time employees in the area.
It’s also important to note that before a court issues a final child support award, it allows parents to make certain deductions from their income. This is known as a net income calculation and it allows parties to subtract allowable deductions, such as:
- Income taxes;
- Mandatory retirement payments;
- Health insurance payments;
- Child support; and
- Spousal support.
These deductions can significantly lower what a court will consider income for the purposes of calculating child support and alimony, so it’s important for divorcing couples to have a thorough understanding of which deductions apply in their specific cases.
Contact Experienced Florida Divorce Lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A.
If you and your spouse are considering divorce and share children, or one of you has decided to request alimony, then you will undoubtedly be required to calculate your income. This can be a complicated endeavor, especially for those with complex holdings and investments. For help estimating what you can expect to pay in alimony or child support, please call 954-945-7591 and set up a free consultation with experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. today. You can also schedule a meeting with a member of our legal team by completing one of our online contact forms.