Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Divorce

A common issue when it comes to self-employed parties is difficulty in ascertaining the party's income. When it comes to calculating child support and/or alimony, a Florida family court can impute income to a party who is found to be under reporting income. Such was the case in Newman v. Newman, 221 So.3d 642 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017) where the wife appealed the trial court's denial of alimony. 

The husband apparently did not abide by court orders to produce certain records related to income he received from a boat chartering business he owned. Despite the husband's failure to produce these records, the court found there was insufficient evidence to show the husband earned income from this business and therefore had the ability to pay alimony to the wife. The trial court, however, also found that it was incredible that the husband did not earn money from this business when he testified to chartering boats for large clients such as the BBC and the Discovery Channel. 

The appellate court reversed, holding it was error for the trial court to disregard the husband's self-employment income, especially since the husband was the one withholding information about the income. The court ruled "[W]hen the circumstances suggest that a self-employed spouse has not accurately reported his or her income, the court may properly assign a higher income value than that claimed by the spouse." 

A spouse who hides income or assets presents an issue that needs the assistance of an attorney and maybe even a forensic accountant. If you suspect your spouse may hide income or assets in your Miami divorce, contact a Miami divorce lawyer to learn the best way to proceed to protect your interests.