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Knowledge of business assets helpful for spousal maintenance

Divorce is never simple. There are assets to divide, debts to pay, spousal maintenance to discuss and other issues on how the family should move ahead financially. A legal divorce not only ends a marriage, it also often gives financial support to a former spouse to start over.

As each person tries to protect his or her individual interests, a divorce can become a complicated affair. While child support may have various criteria for calculations, spousal maintenance may be widely dependent on the court's decisions. The court, while deciding on issues like spousal support, may consider each spouse's earning capacity, the duration of the marriage and impairments toward earning.

A spouse's income may play an important role in such calculations. If the income details can be found through pay stubs and tax returns, calculations can be simple. But if the spouse's main source of income is through his own business, it may become difficult to calculate the income. Understanding the total worth of the business and income may be difficult in these cases.

Understanding the business operation may help the person understand the actual income of the spouse. Also, a spouse having a side job may have hidden assets. The spouse may try to hide the income to show that the spousal maintenance and child support is not affordable. If the spouse made cash payments when shopping and mentioned it as a shortcut to saving taxes, this may be a tip to the person that the spouse may have a secret income.

Therefore, it is particularly important to know of business income and expenses, especially if the business is cash-based. A person may claim permanent or temporary spousal maintenance, but finding the correct income of the spouse is necessary to make accurate calculations.

Source: Forbes, "What A Divorcing Woman Needs To Know About Her Husband's Cash-Based Business," Jan. 30, 2013

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