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FATHERS’ RIGHTS
NOT JUST EVERY OTHER WEEKEND

This is about fathers' rights law, and protecting the best interests of your children. It provides information, news and comments on laws, cases and strategies for life as a single father and winning your custody, access or child support case.

Imputing Income

Hector and Maxine Joy Sallaberry of Florida had been married for 17 years and had one son.   Hector owned a copy machine repair business.  Maxine had almost no income and Hector supported the family.  Family expenses were about $5,000 a month.

In their divorce, Maxine hired a forensic accountant who reviewed Hector’s business records and testified that he made $6,752 a month.  Hector countered that he could only bill about one hour a day on the average at $95 an hour, and that his income was $3,400 a month.

The trial judge found that Hector was voluntarily underemployed.  He imputed income to Hector for child support and alimony on the following basis.  He said Hector could bill 20 hours a week which would result in about $95,000 a year in revenues.  Then he subtracted $15,000 for expenses leaving about $80,000 in profits which matched what the accountant said Hector earned.

On appeal, the Florida appeals court reversed, saying that (1) the judge’s finding that Hector could bill 20 hours a week was speculation, not evidence; (2) the accountant failed to subtract business expenses from his number; and (3) the judge could not impute income solely on past ability to pay because that might not reflect current earning power.

Sallaberry v. Sallaberry, et al., No. 4D08-2124 (Florida District Court of Appeal, Fourth District, February 17, 2010)

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