Written by attorney John Vincent Montero

California Divorce Income Verification Tools

CHILD SUPPORT and SPOUSAL SUPPORT are two of the most common subjects addressed by the Court in a Family Law/ Divorce Case filed in the Sacramento County Superior Court. This procedure is the same for any Family Law matter in the State of California. The Judge will base whatever support order is issued on the Current Incomes of each of the parties. This is often a serious matter due to the fact that it can be hard to determine a parent's actual income.

Unfortunately, parties in a Family Law action will occasionally not disclose their actual income. Each party is required to file a current INCOME AND EXPENSE DECLARATION whenever the Court is hearing a financial matter. This form requires that the person who files their declaration also attach their most recent pay stubs. This is so the opposing party's Attorney can verify that the reported income is accurate.

A pay stub can provide a lot of valuable information. The party's pay rate, as well as deductions for health insurance, retirement programs and union dues will all be on the stub. On of the easiest techniques for determining the other party's income is to look at the pay period end date and the Year To Date Gross figure. If you divide the income by the number of months elapsed on the pay check, you can calculate the recipient's average monthly income for the year.

Calculating the Average Monthly Income is important as many people have incomes that can fluctuate throughout the year. This is typically the case for people who work in seasonal industries such as construction.

A far more difficult problem will occur when one of the parties is self-employed. There will be no pay stub for easy income verification.

The most common tool to verify the income of a self-employed person will usually be their most recent income tax return. A review of the Schedule C attachment will show what the net income of the spouse is. In addition, it is often necessary to review that spouse's last 12 months of bank statements. This will provide confirmation of the figures used in the tax return.

In very complicated support problems, it may become necessary for one of the parties to hire a Forensic Accountant to audit the other party's finances. This is an accountant who has experience testifying in court regarding financial issues related to a divorce. Hiring a forensic accountant can be expensive for a party in the middle of a divorce matter. However, it may be the only way to accurately figure out the other party's actual income.

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