Proving the Income of a Self-Employed Spouse in a Divorce or Custody Determination
The amount of income of your spouse or co-parent has wide-ranging significance in your divorce or child custody dispute. The amount of both your and your spouse’s income will affect whether you’re entitled to spousal support and in what amount, how your and your spouse’s assets will be divided, and the amount of child support. If you or your spouse does not work a traditional salaried job, showing how much income is available after business expenses are paid can be difficult, and could even provide an opportunity for your spouse to conceal income. Learn about ways to approach showing income when self-employed, below.
Gather records early: If you’re still living with your spouse but planning a split, get ahead of any disputes over finances. Ask questions about your spouse’s business, if you aren’t already familiar with how it functions and what sorts of profits and losses it experiences. If you have access to financial records regarding your spouse’s income and business, make copies now of things like invoices, ledgers, and statements from banks or credit cards. Alternatively, if you do not have access to these documents but can recall which records exist and what format they’re in, let your attorney know so that he or she can make more specific requests for documents during the discovery process. For example, if you know that your spouse uses QuickBooks for their business, request records from this program. The more specific the request, the better.
Present lifestyle evidence: Some spouses may claim to the court that they can’t afford a modest support payment each month, even though their spouses know they’ve recently taken a lavish vacation with their new partner. You may not yet have determined how to prove your spouse’s true income, in contrast to the amount they’ve claimed to earn, but evidence that shows why your spouse’s claims about their income must be untrue can be equally useful in discrediting the income statement they presented to the judge.
If you are in need of legal assistance with a custodial dispute or divorce in New Jersey, contact the seasoned, dedicated, and effective Union family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro for a consultation on your case, at 908-964-0102.