Calculator and ledgerThis is the next post in my series on how “underemployment” impacts child support calculations in Melbourne, Florida. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. I also stressed the need to contact an attorney if you wish to prove that your ex is earning less than what they are capable of. Counsel can take steps to prove that you should be receiving a higher child support payment on the grounds that your ex should have a higher income. In this article I will discuss the concept of underemployment and why it matters in such cases. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Florida will consider a parent underemployed if they are choosing to earn less than what they are capable of

Florida’s child support laws require parents to provide financial assistance when it comes to raising their children. A parent’s child support payments will be based, in part, on the amount of money they make. Unfortunately, there are times when a parent may choose to earn a lesser income. They may be doing so out of an effort to pay less support or they may have other reasons. Regardless of why one is choosing to work less, and earn a reduced income, the obligation to support their children comes first. Accordingly, a Court can order that the monthly support payments of a parent, who is intentionally underemployed, be set at the level they would be at if the parent were earning their normal wage.

The concept of underemployment is best explained through an example. Say a parent asks his or her supervisor to reduce their work schedule from forty hours per week to twenty. Now say that the parent  is capable of working forty hours per week and that there is nothing preventing them from doing so. If the parent were to claim that their child support should be reduced, on account of their reduced work hours, the Court would likely find that the parent must continue to pay support as if they were still working forty hours per week. This is due to the fact that the parent chose to have their hours reduced even though there was no necessity to do so.

Melbourne parents will not be found to be underemployed simply because they are earning less than their potential

It is important to understand that a parent will not be found to be underemployed simply because they are earning less than their potential. If a parent received an involuntary pay cut, or has lost their job through no fault of their own, then the Court will not hold it against them as long as they are trying to improve their situation. This means that a parent who is actively seeking better employment, or who is making a good faith effort to supplement their income, will likely be entitled to a child support reduction. If, however, a parent receives an involuntary reduction in pay, and they do nothing to improve their situation, then the Court will likely make a finding of underemployment.

If you wish to show that your ex is underemployed then call my office today to speak with a Melbourne child support lawyer. I have experience in handling such matters and I am ready to assist you. 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.