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Florida Family Lawyer – Gross Income?

Originally published in the Jan/Feb 2021 edition of Res Ipsa Loquitur

As of deadline, spaces are still available for the next Marital and Family Law Review Course, also known as “Cert Review”. The event schedule starts Wednesday, January 19, 2022, at Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando. The actual substantive CLE subjects start at 8:00 am Friday, January 21 thru noon Saturday, January 22. The cost to members of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar is $825. If you want hard-copy books, it’s an extra $99. Non-section registrants are $925 without books. Attorneys practicing less than 5 years are $625. Pricey, I know, but you will learn the latest law, and get a slew of CLE hours (15 including 2.5 ethics). Most importantly, you can reconnect and network with all your Family Law friends from across the state. Not only attorneys, but also CPAs and Mental Health Experts. A special $244 nightly rate is available from Gaylord Palms. The overflow hotel is the Courtyard Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Marriott Village. Their special rate is $129 per night. That rate includes a shuttle to and from the Gaylord Palms Friday and Saturday. For more information, go to WWW.AAMLFLORIDA.ORG.

A newer case from the 4th District reminds us what can and cannot be included as “gross income” under Florida Statute 61.30(2)(a)13. In Nadeau v. Reeves, 46 Fla. L. Weekly, D2282, (Oct. 2021), the Circuit Court imputed $2,080 income to the mother. The Court also added $1,538.50 additional income pursuant to 61.30(2)(a)13 as “reimbursed or in-kind payments to the extent they reduce living expenses”, based on the mother’s testimony that her new husband paid for all expenses listed on her financial affidavit.

The 4th DCA reversed this additional income, saying it is improper to use contributions of a new spouse. While it may be proper to use regular support payments made by a parent of a child support obligor, for child support calculation purposes, it is not proper to use that of a subsequent spouse. It is sometimes easy to get lost in the weeds on points like this.

The Florida Family Law word for the day is divagation – wandering, straying, going astray; digressing in speech. “Opposing counsel’s divigations did not fool the learned Judge from arriving at the correct ruling”.

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