Military retirement, disability and child support


I am currently going for custody of my kids. And I am also retiring from the military due to medical reasons but I am 100% disabled. However my lawyer said that the court can order me to get a job even though I am disabled. She said that I would have to provide a statement from the doctor saying that I can't work. My ex-wife doesnt work she sits at home all day and does youtube which is unfair to me because all 4 of our kids are in school now. So I'm just trying to find out if this is true about making me work she said that the judge can order her to get a minimum wage job. But I'm more concerned about me because if I get a job and double my income then in essence my child support will double, which isn't fair. So can florida court do this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Jim's Reply:

Divorce court or family court can demand a lot from the litigants, often really unexpected things that don't seem fair depending on which side of the room you're on. While I don't know that the court can make you get a job, the judge or magistrate can impute  an amount of money that you should be capable of earning during the time of your court ordered obligation to pay anything to the other party.

Obligations like child support rely heavily on determining the future earnings potential of the litigants. The court usually looks at your last few years of earnings through a detailed financial statement that includes tax returns and so on. Let's say that each of the last 5 years you've earned $125,000 plus or minus each year. Now you're divorcing and retiring and disabled and you tell the court your income will be $25,000 per year, a full 100 large less than before you were divorcing and you tell the judge that's the amount that should be used to calculate your obligations to child support. The judge has the authority to not believe you and to impute a future income equal to what you've been earning those high income years and base your obligation on that figure. In other words, you don't have to get a job but you do have to figure a way to make the court ordered payment. The court just wants the amount ordered to be timely paid and if you have a job or get the money from your sweet old Aunt Tillie doesn't really matter. If children and child support obligations are involved, the court is likely to base obligations on your past earnings rather than what you claim are probable future earnings. The family court places the welfare of any children involved above any other priority. If you are able to work and don't want to because it may increase your child support obligation ("if i get a job and double my income then in essence my child support will double which isnt fair"), that's just what the court will want to learn as the magistrate decides your case. I wouldn't repeat that to others were I's not a very nice attitude regarding your kids.