Preparing For Divorce When Self-Employed: 2 Reasons To Keep Detailed Expense Logs

Law Blog

Divorce, when you're self-employed, holds a few extra tasks compared to divorce for the conventionally employed. Because there is no real third-party overseeing your pay, your income claims may require more scrutiny by the court. This isn't a personal indictment, it's simply a fact of life for people who are responsible for their own income. Because people in the past have hidden income, you may have to go through more investigation so that the court is satisfied that you're accurately reporting what you earned and spent. Keeping detailed receipts and records is essential for two requirements you'll likely encounter.

1. Income Reconciliation and Verification

You will have to verify your income and expenses to the court. Because you don't have an outside employer who can provide information without your input, the court needs reassurance that what you say you earned is truly what you earned, and that whatever dips in income you claimed you had really did happen.

It is possible that your spouse will claim you had more, and he or she may not have to have complete proof to get the court to question your records, depending on how the case is going. You're going to have to show that you did not have more than you claimed; being able to pull out a few years' worth of detailed monthly records works in your favor. Your attorney can tell you how many years you'll need to show.

One issue to be aware of is business expenses. Court judges have differed in their interpretation of what counts as a true business expense that could lower your reported income. You need to show that everything you claim as a business expense was actually paid and was incurred for a business-related reason. If you can show that the expense was necessary to the business (e.g., gas costs for a rideshare driver), that's even better.

2. Level of Court Intervention

Another reason to keep those detailed records is that there are varying levels of court intervention. A divorce that is amicable and that sees both spouses cooperating and not really arguing over income may not need much intervention from the court to force one party or the other to turn over records. But cases where the spouses are constantly fighting, the court can have independent accountants examine records and require you to turn over more and more information. The last thing you want is for the court to demand records you never kept.

You will need a very good divorce attorney to help you during your divorce case. Even if the divorce is amicable, there are a number of steps that could trip you up and have you paying more in alimony than you can really afford given the unpredictable nature of your income. For more information, contact a company like Cooper Levenson Attorneys At Law.


24 April 2019

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