We hear this question a lot. In most cases, spouses know intimate details about each other’s lives, including but not limited to their finances. As a result, most spouses know that what a spouse declares on his or her income tax returns is often times fibbed. However, in a court of law, the Judge will primarily rely on that party’s paystubs and tax returns. So what can you do to show a Judge that your spouse brings in more money than he or she says she does? For one, a Judge will require that you fill out a financial disclosure statement that will require you to list not only your income but also your expenses. If you allegedly make $3,000 a month but spend an average of $7,000 a month, a Judge will likely inquire where you are getting the extra $4,000 to meet your expenses on a daily basis. The other way you can prove that a party makes more money is by sending subpoenas to the party’s bank accounts to obtain statements that show large purchases and an extravagant lifestyle. The bank statements can also show the amount of deposits made on a monthly basis which can be used to show that your ex is either making money on the side or gets cash payouts from his job that allow him to lead an extravagant lifestyle. The spouse can also testify to their standard of living and his/her knowledge of how much money the other spouse actually made on a monthly basis. In some scenarios, all of the income is actually accounted for, but as a self-employee, the party likely deducts a significant amount of his expenses as business expenses, thus lowering his personal net income that is used to calculate child support and maintenance. Although business expenses can be legitimate expenses that a Judge will allow to be deducted as business expenses, a court can also refuse to deduct expenses that he/she deems more of a personal expense than a business expense, such as a cell phone or car payment. In the end, it will all come down to the amount of time and expense you are willing to put in to prove your spouse’s true income. If the difference is significant, then you will need to contact an attorney to help you with the discovery process and the gathering of relevant information to prove your case.
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