Child support is essential to protecting the health and well-being of children after a divorce. It is a legal obligation that ensures the child’s financial stability, covering expenses related to education, healthcare, food, clothing, and other essential needs. The financial support from the non-custodial parent helps maintain a consistent standard of living for the child, despite the changes brought about by the divorce.
Unfortunately, not all divorces end amicably, and ex-spouses can have disagreements regarding parenting time or financial matters. In some cases, one parent may suspect that their ex is deliberately concealing income to reduce the child support they must pay. This suspicion can arise from observations of an ex-partner’s lifestyle, unexplained discrepancies in reported income, or changes in employment or financial behavior.
If you suspect that your ex is hiding income so that they can receive more child support, what can you do?
Income Disclosure and Child Support
When determining child support payments, the court or relevant authorities require full transparency regarding each parent’s income. This disclosure includes employment income, self-employment income, bonuses, commissions, investment income, rental income, and any other sources of revenue.
Accurate income disclosure is vital for a fair and just child support determination. It ensures that the child’s financial needs are adequately addressed based on the parents’ respective financial capacities. Failure to disclose income truthfully undermines the integrity of the child support process and hinders the child’s right to receive appropriate financial support.
Hiding income during child support calculations can have serious repercussions. If your ex deliberately conceals or underreports income, it skews the calculation and unfairly impacts the child’s financial support. It is a breach of legal obligations. If discovered, your ex may face legal repercussions, such as fines, penalties, and potential modifications to the child support order.
Signs Your Ex is Hiding Income
How do you know that your ex is hiding income? Divorcing couples in Atlanta should look for signs that their ex might be hiding income to avoid paying child support or alimony.
Here are several common indications of hidden income:
- Inconsistencies in Lifestyle and Expenses
- Unexplained Financial Transactions or Assets
- Discrepancies Between Reported Income and Actual Living Standards
- Suspicious Business Activities or Cash-based Income
- Recent Changes in Employment
A noticeable discrepancy between your ex-partner’s reported income and their actual living standards can be a red flag. If they claim to have a low income, yet live in a lavish house, drive expensive cars, or consistently engage in costly activities, it may indicate hidden income. Watch for extravagant purchases, luxury vacations, or high-end assets that seem disproportionate to their reported earnings.
In addition, if your ex-partner owns a business or works in a cash-intensive industry, they may have opportunities to manipulate income reporting. Look for irregular business records, unexplained cash deposits, or a lack of proper documentation for income earned through self-employment or cash-based transactions.
It is important to note that these signs are not definitive proof of hidden income. However, if you observe one or more of these indicators, talk to an experienced Atlanta family lawyer who can begin investigating your suspicions.
Investigating Hidden Income
When investigating hidden income, your Atlanta family lawyer will begin by gathering financial documents and evidence. This may include bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, business records, investment statements, and other financial records related to your ex-partner’s income. They will review these documents carefully, looking for any inconsistencies, unexplained transactions, or indications of additional income.
Your divorce attorney may also choose to work with a forensic accountant or financial expert who specializes in investigating hidden income. These professionals have the expertise to analyze financial records, trace money trails, and identify signs of undisclosed income.
Depending on your case, your attorney may file a subpoena or discovery request. These legal mechanisms allow you to gather information, including financial records and testimony, from your ex-partner or relevant third parties.
I’ve Found Hidden Income, Now What?
If you have evidence of hidden income, you can request a modification of the child support order. This involves petitioning the court to revise the existing child support arrangement based on the newly discovered information. Your Atlanta divorce lawyer can guide you through the process and help prepare a strong case for modification.
If your ex-spouse is found guilty of hiding income, they may face significant consequences, including fines, penalties, adjustments to child support payments, and even legal sanctions.
Contact Our Atlanta Divorce Attorney Today
If you suspect that your ex is hiding income, you need an experienced Atlanta divorce lawyer in your corner. At Hobson & Hobson, we have the knowledge and experience to navigate the legal system, gather evidence, present a strong case, and advocate for your rights. Our Atlanta divorce lawyer will work diligently to protect your interests and help achieve a child support arrangement that accurately reflects the financial realities of both parents.
To schedule a consultation and explore your legal options, call us at (770) 284-6153 or fill out our confidential contact form.
Attorney Sarah Hobson at Hobson and Hobson, P.C. are powerful advocates for those who fight for better futures for those going through divorce and custody law matters.