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What if a Self-Employed Spouse Lies About Income During Divorce?

Posted on in Illinois Family Law Attorney

gavel-cash-rightsDivorcing spouses’ income and assets influence everything from property division to child support. Whether a divorcing couple reaches a negotiated divorce settlement or the case goes to court, the spouses can only make informed decisions if both parties disclose full, accurate financial information. Spouses may try to sway the divorce in their favor by underreporting their income, inflating expenses or debt, or lying about assets. This type of financial deception is often especially easy for self-employed spouses.

False income information can heavily influence the case. Lying on official court documents is also unlawful. If you are getting divorced, honest, complete financial disclosure is a must.

Determining a Spouse’s Self-Employment Income During Divorce

If your spouse is self-employed, you may worry that he or she will lie about the amount of money he or she makes. Some spouses try to lower their spousal maintenance or child support obligations by understating their income. Conversely, spouses may try to get more support than they deserve by pretending to be less financially successful than they actually are. Spouses may also underreport income to influence property division.

Divorce attorneys experienced in complex financial issues during divorce use a variety of methods to reveal these types of tactics, including:

  • Evaluating financial documents – Tax returns, credit card statements, business records, and other financial documents can reveal clues about a self-employed spouse’s true income.
  • Interrogatories, requests for admissions, and other discovery tools – Divorce “discovery” is the fact-finding stage of divorce. The spouses’ attorneys may use discovery tools that require the spouses to answer questions under oath or produce documents or other evidence.
  • Depositions – During a deposition, spouses and their attorneys meet face-to-face to discuss divorce issues. A spouse may be asked questions under oath while a court reporter records everything that was said.
  • Subpoenas – A subpoena is a court order that compels a person to testify in court or bring documents to court. Subpoenas may be used to secure documents from banks and other third parties as well.
  • Forensic accounting – Forensic accountants sometimes work closely with divorce lawyers to analyze business income and assets and/or personal finances to find evidence of deception.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Divorce Lawyer

Self-employed spouses may lie about their income during divorce. If you have reason to believe that your spouse is trying to manipulate your divorce outcome by fabricating financial information, contact Cosley Law Office for help. Arlington Heights divorce attorney Donald J. Cosley has decades of experience representing divorcing spouses during property division, spousal maintenance, child support, and other family law matters. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation.



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