Judge with family law binderThis is the next post in my series on the issue of spousal support in Melbourne, Florida divorce cases. My last article discussed how asset division can impact alimony calculations. It is important to understand that, generally speaking, the greater a spouse’s assets then the less likely that spouse is to receive support. How the Court will rule in any given situation, however, will always depend on the specific facts of the case. It is best to discuss your particular matter with an attorney so that you may fully understand your options. In this article I will discuss how “underemployment” can impact that award of support. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

I have previously discussed the topic of underemployment in Florida child support cases. The concept can also be relevant to the determination of alimony. An individual is “underemployed” when they are choosing to earn less than what they are likely capable of. This can take several forms. If a party chooses to quit their job, or asks for a reduction in hours with no good reason, and is not taking other actions to earn money then the Court is likely to view the individual as underemployed. Also, if one loses their job, and makes no effort to find work, then the Court is also likely to view them as underemployed. The Court, however, is unlikely to punish an individual whose income has gone down through no fault of their own. If, for example, a spouse receive an involuntary layoff, and immediately begins looking for work, then the Court will likely not view them as underemployed while they are actively seeking a job.

A finding of underemployment will impact a Court’s spousal support rulings. If a party is claiming that they cannot pay support, but are found to be underemployed, then the Court is likely to order support as if the individual was earning an amount equal with their potential. Likewise, if an individual is requesting support, but is found to be underemployed, then the Court is unlikely to award support as such payments are typically meant to help one get back on their feet. The extent to which this issue will impact support can depend on efforts that are being made to find work, to increase earnings, etc.

If you are going through a divorce then contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne spousal support lawyer. I am experienced in handling such situations and how employment, or lack thereof, is likely to impact your case. I pride myself on providing quality service and I am ready to assist you. Contact us today. We also service clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.