Proving Income of a Self-Employed Spouse
There are many reasons why the parties to a divorce are required to produce complete and truthful financial disclosures to the court. Income and asset information is used to calculate spousal maintenance, child support payments, and a fair division of marital assets. If your spouse has a traditional, salaried job and does not earn outside income, then determining how much they make after taxes is a simple matter of reviewing pay stubs. When spouses have small businesses, or are otherwise self-employed, proving income is not as straightforward. Those who are self-employed have greater opportunities to hide income from the court, making it appear as though they are entitled to receive (or avoid paying) maintenance or support when this isn’t the case. With help from a skilled family law attorney, you can make sure that the family court is not misled by inaccurate financial disclosures so that you receive a fair outcome.
Become informed before a split
Some couples either keep their finances entirely separate throughout a marriage, or one spouse is left solely responsible for handling the family’s finances. Before you divorce, make sure you have a basic understanding of your spouse’s income and the structure of their business. Ask to have your spouse explain how their business is organized, and be sure that you can locate any joint tax return documents and account statements.
Request documents through discovery
Some divorces or other family court matters can be resolved without making requests for documents through the discovery process, which can often be drawn-out and expensive. However, if your ex is hiding thousands of dollars of income from the court, requesting more detailed financial disclosures and evidence of earnings through discovery could still be financially beneficial. If you feel confident that certain accounts are missing from your spouse’s calculations, have your attorney request those account statements specifically.
Lifestyle evidence can be persuasive to the court
While your spouse may appear to be poor on paper, there may be other evidence of their financial resources that you could provide to the court. If you’ve seen or heard about photos on social media sites depicting your ex with their new love interest on a foreign vacation, or photos of lavish gifts your ex has given, these photos may be worth presenting to the court. While they cannot serve as proof of your spouse’s true earnings and assets, they can show the court that the disclosures so far received have been less than complete.
If you are facing a divorce or dispute over your child’s custody in Florida, contact the seasoned, knowledgeable, and effective Pensacola family law attorney Crystal Collins Spencer for a consultation on your case at 850-912-8080, with additional offices in Sandestin at 850-424-6683, and in Fort Walton Beach at 850-200-4652.