As a self-employed person, you face a variety of unique challenges and difficulties in family law. Having a legal representative who understands the complicated nature of self-employment wages and other matters is crucial to ensuring you get the resolution that works best for your situation. While family court can be difficult for anyone to navigate on their own, a self-employed person has a range of additional difficulties that make professional legal representation crucial.
Income and Child Support Determination: Unlike a traditional hourly or salaried worker, a self-employed person’s income is not as cut and dry. There are a range of ways this can be miscalculated, and you can end up paying more than you are able to. More importantly, a spouse can also claim that you are hiding personal income in your company and/or that your business expenses are actually your personal expenses. If your spouse is able to convince the court of this, they will determine your child support amount based on an inflated personal income.
What an Experienced Lawyer Can Do: An experienced lawyer who understands the multitude of ways a self-employed person’s salary can be misrepresented can work to get an accurate account and a fair child support settlement.
A lawyer who specializes in self-employed clients will also be better prepared to deal with your spouse’s attorney who will likely be doing their own investigations and calculations of your income. For both you and your spouse, there are multiple ways to come to a conclusion on income and child support amounts. To ensure you get a fair deal, a quality lawyer will know both how to use the right strategy for you and how to work against arguments from the other side.
The complex process of determining a self-employed person’s income for child support purposes takes a substantial amount of time. Because of this, it is likely to only be done every few years, versus every year as it would be for other employment types. However, you MUST continue to pay support during this process.
Failure to pay at any time, will severely hurt your chances of winning in a family court. In fact, it is probably the top way to ensure you do not win. You can, however; increase your favor with the courts by agreeing to split large expenses with your spouse. Monthly child support payments are only part of the equation and large or unexpected expenses plus other regular, daily expense costs must also be considered. If you take these on partially or completely without being told to by the courts, this will show you are cooperative and acting in your children’s best interest.
All court matters can be trying, but a self-employed person is especially vulnerable to being over-charged on child support payments. If you are facing family court as a self-employed person, the team at Devry Smith Frank LLP (DSF) is here to help.
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