Income plays a primary role in determining child support. In some cases, people with child support obligations will under-report income or hide it altogether to limit how much they pay. While cash stuffed under a mattress is easy to discover, the majority of hidden income is tricky to prove and track down.
If you suspect that the other parent of your child is hiding income, these are the places you should start looking:
- Income Tax Returns: If any clues for hidden assets exist, you’ll probably find them here. You’ll find information such as income, interest from tax-free bonds, taxable refunds, overpayment of state and federal taxes and profits from the business. An experienced child support lawyer and forensic accountant can perform analytic procedures on the data from the tax returns and look for misconduct.
- Checking/Savings Accounts: Look for any unusual withdrawals and wire transfers. Your spouse may be giving money to a friend or family member to “hold” while the child support case is determined.
- Lifestyle analysis: What kind of car is your ex-spouse driving? How often do they go on shopping sprees? Do they always have cash on them? If their lifestyle does not mesh with what they claim their income is, you have a right to be suspicious.
- Offshore Accounts: Secrecy laws make it almost impossible to find offshore accounts, although, a passport can reveal travel destinations as to where an account might be located.
- Business Procedures: One of the easiest ways to hide income is through a business. An owner may write off significant amounts, pay “fake” employees or use other shady tactics to hide income.
- Public Records Check: These records contain information that is both public and possibly useful in a hidden income case. You can find public records at your local courthouse and city hall.
- Investments: Items such as art and antiques may both carry a sizeable chunk of funds and be easily overlooked. Keep an eye out for any significant additions to your ex-spouse’s collections.
If you suspect an ex-spouse is hiding income to avoid paying child support, please contact our Temecula family law lawyers at Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich. We can look for inconsistencies in business income and expenses and lifestyle versus income to expose your ex-spouse’s actual reported income.
Call (951) 506-6654 or contact us online to speak with an attorney.