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What if there is a dispute over income for support in a divorce?

| Nov 21, 2019 | Divorce |

Support is one of the most common causes of dispute in a Louisiana divorce. When the court decides on child support and other types of support from one former spouse to the other, it will make its determination based on the income and a variety of factors that impact the person (the obligor) who is ordered to pay.

If the receiving spouse asserts that income is being hidden or not reported in full, the court will gather evidence to establish the income. Understanding what evidence the court needs is a key part of a case. Those who are in the middle of a contentious disagreement of this kind should consider having legal advice.

The court will consider redirected income; deferred income; and the standard of living and assets. With redirected income, the obligor might have a loan from a business that must be repaid. It is presumed that this is income. However, the obligor can rebut this if it is shown that there was a history of these payments being made on time with applicable interest or it is fully paid based on interest rates in a reasonable time-period. The obligor might make payments out of pocket or make payments through a business to others in salary or wages. This could be viewed as income, but it can be rebutted if it is shown that the payments were made prior to the separation for divorce or before there was a child support modification request. The payments must also be for services rendered at an appropriate rate of pay.

Deferred income is assessed to see if there was a recent reduction in how income was distributed. Examples include the obligor’s salary, dividends, bonuses, management fees and more. It will be presumed that previous distributions of income will move forward as before. This is rebuttable if the obligor shows that the condition of the business requires the change. Standard of living and the obligor’s assets will be considered based on the lifestyle before the divorce child support order and after it. This will be done to establish the income and decide if there is a disparity with the lifestyle.