One of the most common reasons for divorce is financial deception. Part of that deception often involves the combination of a spouse lying about how much they make along with hiding income from their husband or wife in a variety of ways. There are several ways that this deception can play out. Here are a few things to look for if you believe your spouse makes more money than they have been telling you and what you can do with the help of your attorney to prove it.
4 Things to Look for If You Think Your Spouse Makes More Money Than Stated
1. Secret Spending
A spouse can try to hide a higher income by making large purchases for the family, or for themselves. This can include buying a new refrigerator or stove for the household, to buying expensive designer shoes several times a month. These expenses ultimately decrease their total available income in the bank, making it seem like their net income is less than it really is or was before the purchase was made. Be on the lookout for sudden large purchases by your spouse, or any purchases that are outside his or her normal purchases. If you have joint bank accounts or credit cards, be sure to check the statements to see if large payments are being made if it’s not immediately apparent by the items being brought to or delivered to the house.
2. Hiding Debt and Credit Cards
With secret spending often comes hiding debts and credit cards. If a spouse is making more money then they are telling you, they could secretly be spending to get rid of the extra income they don’t want you to know about, and that spending could be going towards items that cause him or her to incur more credit card debt. These are likely credit cards you are not even aware of, so that you are not aware of the extra money that he is spending on items or even on household items. To hide these credit cards, if he gets paper statements, he could have them sent to another address like his work. The same for big
3. Hiding Financial Accounts
Similar to hiding debts and credit cards, your spouse could be depositing money from his income or another source into an account that they opened on their own, and did not tell you about. These accounts could have a significant impact on your spouse’s income if deposits are made into these accounts from pay stubs or a side business.
4. Business Expenses
Often individuals who are self-employed try to claim they make much less than they do by deducting all kinds of expenses that they claim are “business expenses” essential to running and operating their business. There are only certain business expenses that are considered to be deductible for purpose of support calculations and income determination according to the law. Talk to your divorce lawyer about these specifics to confirm what your spouse is deducting is appropriate.
Getting the Proof You Need to Prove Your Spouse Makes More Money
The first step in getting proof is having your spouse fill out a financial affidavit in your case. This is a standard form that is required by the Court in all divorce cases in the State of Illinois. This form requires each spouse to list their total income, sources of income, monthly expenses, bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts, and vehicles – really all your income, assets, and debts in your name and joint names with your spouse. This form is signed under oath, so that means when you sign it you are truthfully disclosing all of your financial information. When you review the financial affidavit of your spouse, keep an eye out for the total income they list, and their monthly expenses.
Seeking Proof Through Discovery
After the financial affidavits are exchanged, then formal discovery can be conducted. This involves asking your spouse for relevant documents within a certain time frame. You can request paystubs, taxes, bank statements, credit card statements, retirement accounts, documents related to your spouse’s self-owned business and more.
If, after your spouse responds to discovery, you believe he did not provide everything that was requested, you can also send out subpoenas to his employer, to banks, to credit cards companies, and really any entity that you believe your spouse may have an interest in an asset or debt. Reviewing statements along with the financial affidavit can help you prove your suspicions about your spouse’s income. Obtaining the necessary documents allows your attorney to determine and verify if there is indeed additional income your spouse may be receiving but is choosing not to disclose.
Get Legal Advice from a Chicago Divorce Attorney
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 in Chicago, you will need to contact a spousal support attorney to help you with the discovery process and the gathering of relevant information to prove your case. Contact us to speak with our Chicago divorce attorneys at Anderson & Boback today if you think your spouse is making more money than they are they say they are.