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Starry-Eyed Entrepreneurial Dreams Are Not A Basis for Imputing Income


Optimism is a prerequisite for entrepreneurship.  This is obvious to impossibly peppy motivational speakers who fill hotel ballrooms with aspiring business owners, as well as to business school professors who teach courses on design thinking.  It is also obvious to the relatives with stable but boring jobs who keep providing money to the family entrepreneur who always seems to need just one more cash infusion before their business becomes profitable.  Thinking about how much money your business will make in the near future can be a useful strategy for setting professional goals, but it does not help you budget for your personal life.  If you are in the process of launching a business, but the court has based your child support obligations on an assumption that you have already caused a feeding frenzy on Shark Tank, contact a Palm Beach County child support lawyer.

The Uber Driver Ordered to Pay Real Estate Tycoon Levels of Child Support

For most of Tymesia and Jeffery’s marriage, she earned a salary as a physician, while he stayed home with the parties’ children.  In 2016, shortly before the parties filed for divorce, Jeffery earned a real estate license, but by the time of the divorce filing on December 30, 2016, he had yet to earn any money in his real estate career.  While the divorce was in process, Jeffery began earning an income by driving for Uber and Lyft.  He earned approximately $38,000 in 2017.

During the divorce trial in 2018, Tymesia claimed that Jeffery was voluntarily underemployed and capable of earning more money than he did and asked the court to impute income to him for purposes of calculating child support obligations.  Based on the testimony of a vocational expert, the court imputed an income of $125,000 per year to Jeffery, which was more than he had ever earned.

Jeffery appealed the amount of income imputed to him.  He argued that the vocational expert had based Jeffery’s earning potential on very optimistic projections for both his real estate business and his limousine business.  He granted that he had met a lot of professional contacts through his work as a driver and that these contacts had helped him in his real estate business.  Jeffery presented evidence that his income in 2017 had been around $50,000.  He said that, while it was possible for his business to grow to the point of bringing in $125,000 per year, this would take several years, and therefore the amount imputed to him resulted in child support obligations beyond what he could afford.  The appeals court remanded the case to the trial court to make more accurate findings about the parties’ financial situation and to recalculate child support.

Let Us Help You Today

A Boca Raton child support lawyer can help you reach an appropriate child support arrangement if your income derives from self-employment and varies from month to month and year to year.  Contact Schwartz | White for a consultation.



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