What happens in divorce when one spouse isn’t working?

Usually, the court will impute an income to the non-working spouse. This means that in cases where child support, alimony, and equitable distribution of assets and debts are at issue, the court will decide a wage that should be attributed to the non-working spouse. This imputed income amount will serve as the amount the spouse should be making if they were working, and most calculations throughout the case will be made using this imputed income.

As a matter of law, trial courts should consider the non-working spouse’s work history, occupational qualifications, and the prevailing earnings in the community for that class of available jobs when finding an amount of imputed income. Evidence may be presented that the non-working spouse had earned the same amount prior to quitting a previous job, that the non-working spouse is capable of working, and that the non-working spouse has options to do so.

See Middleton v. Middleton, 37 Fla. L. Weekly D105.

Patricia Dills is an Attorney with Martin Law Firm, P.L., whose practice
focuses in Divorce, Child Support, Family Law, and Civil Litigation. She
primarily practices in Naples, Collier County, and Fort Myers, Lee County Florida.