Divorce or separation means that where two adults were previously sharing the responsibility and burden of paying bills and expenses, now both adults have to rearrange their budgets to stretch to cover all bills and expenses for each individual household. This often creates a financial strain on large budgets or even higher-income households, as the adults must adjust their standards of living and scale back their budgetary expectations. Spousal support and child support are awarded to help supplement the income of one spouse or parent to assist with the standard of living. With such economic demands made on one or both parties, there are some occasions when an unscrupulous spouse or parent will turn to lying about income to ease his or her own financial burden.
Spousal support and child support determinations both take many issues into account when making a decision but the income of the paying spouse or parent is a very determinative factor in both. In some circumstances, the paying spouse may intentionally lie about making less than he or she does in an effort to lower the support payments or even avoid them completely. A common and essential route to uncovering these lies is to conduct formal discovery. During discovery, your attorney can request financial documents such as bank statements, pay stubs, and tax returns from your current or former spouse. A careful review of these documents can often reveal that the paying spouse is intentionally underestimating his or her income.
Calling particular witnesses at trial can also be a method to prove that your spouse is lying about income. Issuing a subpoena for your spouse’s employer can help uncover true income amounts. The employer can provide direct testimony and supporting documentation about payment structures, bonuses, and deferred compensation. Few employers are willing to commit perjury simply to help an employee escape child or spousal support. This situation becomes slightly more complicated when a spouse is self-employed or owns his or her own business. In this situation, employing the services of a certified public accountant or even a forensic accountant to review the financial documentation before trial could mean that at trial, your attorney can call that accountant to the stand to explain and prove how your spouse is hiding income or other assets.
If you believe your spouse or former spouse is lying about income, you need an experienced attorney to help you prove your case. Call us today at (732) 529-6937 and we can talk about your case and how we can help you.