Going through the difficult transition of a divorce can lead to a wide range of legal concerns. Often people are worried about financial support, like alimony or child support. Others may not want to lose a specific piece of property, such as the home they once shared with their spouse. Many are worried about custody of their children. At Apfelbaum Law, our experienced Florida divorce lawyers ask questions to determine our clients’ biggest concerns and goals in a divorce, so we can help them reach a resolution as quickly and easily as possible.
It is common for clients to have questions about spousal support or alimony. If the couple cannot reach an agreement, a Florida family court judge will make a determination for them based on both parties’ income, expenses, and standard of living during the marriage. Your Florida divorce attorney will likely ask you to gather some documentation such as tax returns, mortgage payments, car notes, etc. to aid in this process.
People frequently ask about imputed income in spousal support settlements. Imputed income is when the court assigns support assuming that one party has income that he or she may not appear to have on paper. This usually occurs if one spouse has quit his or her job or taken a lower-paying position around the time of the divorce filing. Since alimony and child support are determined based on the divorcing parties’ income, some people think they can get a reduced amount by temporarily taking a lower-paying job. Then, after the spousal support judgement is finalized, they can go back to a higher-paying position.
Fortunately, the courts are aware that this sometimes happens, so they carefully examine both the current and previous incomes of both parties when making support decisions. They also consider whether the dip in income was voluntary—such as someone quitting a job or getting fired for insubordination—or involuntary—such as, a spouse being pink-slipped with dozens of other employees during an economic downturn. If you believe your spouse may be trying to get a reduced payment, it is important to discuss these concerns with your Florida divorce lawyer. He or she may ask you to gather evidence to present at trial, such as tax returns for the last several years, or a resignation letter showing your spouse quit their job voluntarily.
Sometimes people are concerned because they just happened to lose their job during a divorce proceeding. Generally this is not a problem so long as you can prove the loss of income was involuntary—that you did not quit or loaf around failing to do your job until you were fired. In this case, your Florida divorce lawyer will advise you on what types of documentation you might need to present as evidence. You may need your termination documents, records of jobs you have applied for, and possibly other pieces of paperwork. It may also be helpful to make a list of people who might be able to testify in your defense—for example, other former employees who were laid off around the same time as you, or who can attest that you were working hard and following instructions at your job.
If you have questions or concerns about divorce, family law, or other Florida legal services, please contact Apfelbaum Law for a consultation. We can be reached at 772-236-4009, or [email protected]