First of all, tax returns don’t always tell the whole story about someone’s income. For example, regular gifts received would not be reflected on the return. If your spouse is self-employed, corporate distributions (distinguished from wages or dividends) would not necessarily show up on the personal return. Also, personal expenses paid by the family business will not always show up on the personal return. Finally, if your spouse has access to cash that he or she doesn’t declare, that may not be reflected on the return.
In these circumstances, your lawyer can take a number of actions to determine your spouse’s income with greater accuracy. These include:
Conduct more-thorough discovery, including review
of W-2s, corporate tax returns, K-1 disclosures on
stocks, and personal financial statements prepared for
Examine check registers and bank deposits. If income
deposited exceeds income disclosed, that is a way to
prove more income.
Conduct a lifestyle analysis, determining if the cost of
the lifestyle exceeds disclosed income.
Take depositions of third parties who have knowledge
of income or spending by your spouse. For example,
if you know someone paid your spouse cash, your
lawyer can subpoena that person to testify to that
fact. If the money wasn’t deposited into any accounts
or reflected anywhere as income, that would help
support your claim.
Subpoena records of places where your spouse has
made large purchases or received income.
- Subpoena banks where your spouse has received financing to obtain personal disclosures concerning your spouse’s income.
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