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Navigating the Complexities of Family Law: Income, Support, and Financial Honesty

Posted by LEISA WINTZ | Apr 04, 2024 | 0 Comments



Family law issues can quickly become entangled with financial disputes, especially concerning income and child support calculations. In the latest episode of FMLG PODCAST titled "Family Matters on Sundays #5," hosts Leisa and Naz delve into this intricate topic, bringing to light the often-overwhelming nuances of managing businesses and personal finances amidst family law proceedings.

Understanding Income for Family Law Matters:
One of the most challenging aspects of family law is determining a person's income. As Leisa and Naz discuss, income is not just about one's regular salary – bonuses, overtime, and commissions can blur the lines. In particular, Naz points out that consistent bonuses over several years might not be guaranteed, but they should be considered income since they reflect a person's earning capacity.

The Role of Family Law Attorneys and Forensic Accountants:
While family law attorneys are equipped to handle straightforward financial matters, they are not accountants. Leisa emphasizes that for complex financial situations involving varied income sources or untraceable income, it might be necessary to involve a forensic accountant. This professional can provide expert analysis, especially when income needs to be calculated for child support determinations accurately.

Income Types and Child Support Calculations:
The episodes touch on the diversity of income types, which can complicate the child support discussion. Regular income, such as wages, differs from less predictable sources like bonuses or commissions. The frequency and structure of pay can significantly impact calculations and subsequent support outcomes.

New Partners and Family Law Proceedings:
A controversial subject raised in the podcast is how a new spouse's income influences family law cases. Although each situation can differ, the consensus is that the financial contribution of someone other than a spouse or partner—like regular payments toward living expenses—can also be viewed as income.

Imputed Income and Financial Honesty:
When approaching a divorce, some individuals might attempt to decrease their income to avoid high child support payments. However, Leisa cautions against such practices, pointing out the concept of 'imputation of income.' If a court finds that a person is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed, it may assume a level of income based on their employment background and education, which will be used in support calculations.

Decisions Impacting Income:
Leisa brings attention to real-life decisions that affect income, such as a wife deciding to stop working after having a baby. The podcast covers how such decisions impact income calculations and the importance of considering a person's employment history.

Tax Implications and Business Income:
State-specific tax implications and filing options are essential factors in income determination. For business owners, especially those with untraceable income like cash payments, it becomes even trickier. Leisa notes that measures exist to investigate and document undisclosed income, ensuring a fair evaluation.

Social Media and Financial Investigations:
Surprisingly, social media can become a valuable tool when disputing claims of financial hardship. By analyzing a person's online presence, it's possible to counter inconsistent claims about their income and lifestyle. In some instances, hiring a private investigator may be necessary to uncover undisclosed income.

Income determination in family law is multifaceted, with numerous elements to consider. As our hosts Leisa and Naz underscore, it's crucial for those involved in family law disputes to approach financial matters with transparency. Not only does this facilitate fair outcomes, but it also avoids potential repercussions like the imputation of income. The FMLG PODCAST continues to offer invaluable insights that help listeners understand the interplay between finances and family law, emphasizing the importance of financial honesty and professional guidance. Stay tuned for future episodes where virtual currency and other modern financial topics will be addressed.

About the Author


Leisa Wintz originally began her career as a marriage and family therapist. Ms. Wintz went on to attend law school and started practicing family law in 2009. However, she quickly realized that many family law practices lacked the empathy and compassion she believed were necessary in order to achi...


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