1. Why is it important to thoroughly investigate whether your husband is hiding money during the divorce process?
Hiding your true income is an art form, and it is a major issue in more than one half of the family law cases that I encounter. A review of this set of FAQ’S will help you determine if your husband is hiding or lying about his true income. All husbands cry that they are broke during the divorce. The more devious that your husband is, then the more likely that he is hiding money. If your husband has lied to you about money issues in the past, then there is a very good chance that he is hiding money through his employment.
In many cases, a husband will complain about his dire financial situation in the hope that he will persuade his wife, her lawyer and the court that he has no money and they he is on the verge of bankruptcy. However, recent studies indicate that shortly after a divorce the husband’s finances soar upward, and the wife’s finances often go down the tubes.
Your husband may also be trying to hide his true income to help him obtain a lower child support and an alimony award. It is your responsibility and of your lawyer to try to uncover any hidden monies, and to prove the actual amount of money that your husband is truly earning. The more money that you uncover, then the higher your child support and alimony will be. In summary, if you want a great result in your divorce case then you will have to earn it. Don’t just expect your husband to offer you the world. If your husband is not forthcoming, then it is your duty to find out all of his income information.
2. What are the top schemes that a devious husband can use to hide his money during a divorce?
a. Your husband tries to defer his income until after the divorce is finalized.
Your husband may try to defer a part of his salary under after the divorce is completed. This scheme happens all of the time. You should try to find any letters or notes by your husband that asks his employer to defer his income. Moreover, you should carefully scrutinize the past history of your husband’s earnings. In many of my cases, a husband’s income and commissions almost magically plummet during the divorce process. Very rarely does a husband’s income increase during a divorce. If your husband is crying the blues, then you should try to obtain his commission statements for the past five years. Moreover, you should try to obtain any and all discovery about his payment schedule. In short, you should try to investigate if your husband is trying to defer his salary and commissions until later years after the divorce case is finalized.
b. Your husband has expense accounts and other perks.
The term perks refer to employee benefits paid over and above the direct compensation that a company may provide for their employees. Some companies offer very little if any perks to their employees. Meanwhile, some companies offer many generous perks as part of their employment package. In some instances, the value of these perks is substantial. If you add the value of these perks to your husband’s salary, then the amount of child support and alimony could be increased by hundreds of dollars per month.
3. What are the top perks that devious husbands use to hide their money?
Some of the most common perks that husbands use to distort their true income are as follows:
a. A company car for personal use
Your husband may be alleging that the company provides the car for business use only and if he uses it for personal use, he must pay back the company.
b. Paid parking space
Some companies pay all or a portion of their employees’ monthly parking rates. Your husband may even tell you that he pays his own parking expenses. Some devious husbands may even try to inflate their parking expenses. Your husband may even pick up parking receipts off the floor of the parking garage, or make a deal with one of the parking attendants to give him extra receipts.
c. An expense account
Expense accounts range from small to large. Your husband may have an expense account to take his customers out to restaurants, sporting events, Broadway shows, and to concerts. You should analyze your husband’s expense account records and assess if he is taking his clients to a less expensive restaurant and to events, and keeping any extra expense account funds for himself. Moreover, your husband may also be charging all or most of his meals to his employer, and tell you he is paying for his food and other expenses.
d. Meal allowance
Some salesmen are given meal allowance when they are on the road trying to make sales. However, many salesmen don’t use the meal allowance, and pocket these monies. For example, in one of my cases a husband received approximately $50 per meal when he was on the road. However, instead of using his meal allowances, he pocketed the money.
f. Clothing and uniform allowance
Your husband may be advising you that he has to purchase his own uniforms, and that his has to incur dry-cleaning expenses to have them cleaned. Meanwhile, this may be an outright lie. Your husband may be having his uniforms dry cleaned for free. This service is often a perk that is provided by many employees who require their workforce to wear a uniform for their job.
4. Should I also try to investigate how my husband is paid his bonus(es) during the divorce process?
Absolutely! I have seen many cases wherein a husband has deferred his bonus to the future year(s) so as to reduce his child support and alimony. Many men receive bonuses in addition to their regular paycheck. You should be particularly aware for any side deals wherein partial bonuses are paid, and the other portion of the bonus is deposited into a separate account that accrues to the benefit of the employee. It is important to emphasize that bonuses can be deferred for future distribution. A careless wife can lose thousands of dollars if she does not conduct reasonable discovery on her husband’s bonuses.
5. My husband always goes on exciting business trips. Are these trips also included as income when the court determines child support and alimony?
Yes, the fair market of the value of these trips could be considered to be income, and it could be added to your husband’s yearly income. Does your husband’s employer pay for his stays at hotels when the business part of the trip has been completed? Some husbands are permitted to take their wife on the business trip. You should inquire to see whether his girlfriend was a guest. Your husband’s employer may allow him to use a summer home or other vacation home that is owned by the business.
6. Should I investigate my husband’s vacation pay during the divorce case?
Yes, the vacation pay also could be valued and added to your husband’s yearly income. If your husband gets four weeks vacation and only takes two weeks off he may receive two weeks additional pay.
7. Should I investigate my husband’s unused sick and personal days during the divorce process?
Yes, your husband may have a significant amount of unused sick or personal days. I have handled cases wherein a police officer was entitled to a payment of more than $100,000 for accumulated sick days after he retired. If your husband does not use his personal days or sick days, he may get paid for the days he doesn’t use.
8. During our marriage my husband always received stock options as part of his pay package. Should the value of his stock options also be included in his yearly income?
Absolutely! Stocks options can be worth a tremendous amount of money. Alternately, stock options can be worth peanuts. Nonetheless, always thoroughly review any information that you receive about your husband’s stock options. If you ignore this issue in your divorce, then you could be cheating yourself out of a significant amount of money. A stock option is the right to buy stock in that company at a reduced rate. If your husband exercises the option, then he may have a valuable asset which you are not aware of. He may even tell you he did not exercise the option and that he lost it.
9. My husband is provided a membership to a very prestigious country club and swanky health club. These club dues are paid by his employer. Is the value of these perks also included in his income?
Yes, the value of these memberships can be worth tens of thousands of dollars. If you add the value of these memberships to your husband’s income, then your child support and alimony can be increased substantially. Your husband may tell to “snow” you that he pays for these expenses. However, in the majority of cases, many employers pay for these club dues.
10. My husband is crying the blues, and he claims that he has a $50,000 loan to his employer. How should I verify if this loan is real?
If your husband wants to increase his debts, and make himself appear poorer to the court then he may create a fictitious loan with a friend, an employer, or a family member. Many devious husbands create a fictitious bleak financial situation so that they can get an edge up in their case. Don’t fall for this baloney. Insist on obtaining full disclosure of any and all loan documents, and if necessary you should conduct discovery on the party who allegedly lent your husband any money.
11. What else should I investigate if I have a “hunch” that my husband is hiding money, and making himself appear poorer than he actually is?
You should be on the look out for any possible signs that your husband may have a special arrangement with his employer at his job. You should inquire if his employer pays some of his personal expenses or pays him a percentage of the profits. Moreover, you should also inquire whether your husband actually owns a percentage of the company he works for and is, therefore, not an employee but an owner/employer.