Determining Income When Your Spouse is Self-Employed
Ensuring that the court has an accurate idea of how much your spouse makes is a very important step in a divorce case. The amount that the judge believes your spouse makes will affect you in many ways, such as the amount of spousal support you receive or are required to pay, the division of marital assets between you and your spouse, and the amount of child support paid or received. If your spouse has a traditional salaried job, proving their income will be fairly straightforward. However, if your spouse works on a freelance basis or owns a small business, proving how much income they take in and how much of that can be considered net pay rather than going toward taxes or other expenses can be difficult. If you are concerned that your ex will not be truthful in making financial disclosures to the court, or if you feel certain that they have already lied when telling the judge what they make, read on for suggested ways to prove your spouse’s income and ensure a fair result from your Kentucky divorce.
Do your research
If you are still married and are planning to obtain a divorce, make sure you have a sense of what your spouse earns, and if you don’t, find out. Ask your spouse to explain how their business is structured, and what sorts of profits or losses they experience. Additionally, make sure you have copies of your recent joint tax returns and statements from joint bank accounts, credit cards, or other financial accounts.
Request documents in discovery
The discovery phase of a lawsuit is the period when each party can request documents or information that, in essence, could serve as proof of the issues the parties are attempting to resolve through trial. Ideally, each spouse will make a full and accurate financial disclosure that makes it unnecessary to spend additional time proving these issues. If this doesn’t occur, you have a right to request documentation showing that their disclosures are accurate. Your attorney can help you make targeted discovery requests that will be most likely to result in the documentation you need.
Use lifestyle evidence as support
If you’ve learned about lavish purchases your spouse has made, or trips they’ve taken with a new significant other, you may be even more frustrated by inaccurately-low income statements. Evidence of these sorts of trips and expenditures, possibly in the form of social media posts and photos, can be presented to the court. While this sort of evidence won’t serve as proof of what your spouse actually makes, it can show the judge that there’s more to the story than has so far been presented to the court.
If you’re facing divorce in Kentucky and want diligent and experienced help in reaching a fair and equitable resolution, contact the Louisville family law attorneys at John H. Ruby & Associates for a consultation, at 502-895-2626.