Calculating child support for various custody arrangements can be a relatively straightforward matter if the parties have traditional jobs and predictable, easily documented income. However, if you or your spouse is self-employed, owns a business or professional practice, or earns income by other means, your situation may be much more complex.
Huntington Beach Attorneys Equipped to Perform Extensive Financial Analysis and Discovery
If you are concerned about the monthly child support you will pay or receive, it is essential to work with a financially savvy attorney equipped to investigate, perform analysis and advocate for you. Our legal team has the knowledge and access to expert resources required to assess your situation and advocate decisively for a just outcome.
Self-employment provides a person with substantial discretion in the handling of income and expenses. Legitimate business decisions may be questioned in family court, and discovery may also expose diverted or unreported income.
Whether you will pay or receive child support, your case may require extensive effort to determine what a self-employed person's "cash flow" for purposes of child support is. Courts recognize a distinction between cash flow available for support and income. Income is oftentimes lower than the cash flow used by family law courts. A good family law attorney is needed to show the judge what cash flow numbers should be used.
It may also be critical to identify phantom expenses and hidden income. The family law courts routinely "add back" to cash flow available for purposes of child support non-cash expenses such as depreciation or amortization. They also classify expenses that are personal in nature but paid by the business (perquisites) as additional income for support purposes.
It may also be critical to:
- Determine how significant one-time, nonrecurring profits or expenses in the year your child support hearing occurs should be viewed for purposes of your support order
- Establish whether money can be legitimately held in reserve for future investment in a business
These are just a few of the considerations our lawyers have addressed effectively when representing business owners, independent consultants, licensed professionals and their spouses. In-depth financial analysis and resolution of complex support issues are clear strengths for our Orange County law firm. We can quickly put some of the most accomplished tax professionals, forensic accountants and other expert resources in Southern California to work on your case.
Questions About Self-Employed Parents and Child Support Obligations?
If you are facing a California divorce with complex child support issues or want to pursue a modification of child support, we encourage you to contact us at The Law Offices of Burch & Coulston, LLP, in Irvine. You can depend on our personal commitment to providing informed counsel and aggressively targeting the most favorable outcome possible for you.