As discussed previously on our blogs here, there have been some legislative changes to the Florida family law statutes regarding child support guidelines beginning in October of 2010. One of the changes, which starts on January 1, 2011, deals with an unemployed or voluntarily underemployed parent.
In the past, when a parent is voluntarily under or unemployed, the employment potential and probable earnings level of the parent were determined based upon his or her recent work history, occupational qualifications, and prevailing earnings level in the community of the parent. This language still exists under Florida Statute 61.30(2), however the legislature has added to this.
The new Florida statute states that if such information is unavailable, or if the parent refuses to participate in proceedings, or if the parent fails to provide adequate financial information, then there is a rebuttable presumption that the voluntarily unemployed, or underemployed parent's income is equivalent to the median income of year-round full time workers as derived from current population reports or replacement reports published by the U.S. Census. However, it is unclear from the new statute which report from the U.S. census lawyers and judges are to apply. Is it the median household income ($48,637), median family income ($58,339), or per capita income ($27,151)?
At this point no one is really sure and as the statute is applied to Florida divorce and paternity cases in the near future we will see exactly how this will affect Florida residents and their family law cases. With all the recent changes to Florida child support and Florida alimony, you will need to visit an expert Tampa family law attorney to analyze how the new changes affect your case.