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Child Support Bullet Guide (Part 7): Proof of Income, Payments, and Self-Employment

Child plays cubes This guide to child support payments in divorce aims to deliver an accessible way to learn more about child support, and the complications that may arise when taking such an issue to court. Child support is a common consideration for many couples going through divorce, but it can also be a sensitive issue for everyone involved.

This segment of the child support guide explores the issues that arise when a self-employed parent is required to pay child support. This article will also discuss proof of child support payments, and why proving income can be important in child support cases.

Further information about these topics is available to access throughout this website and consultations are available to address specific concerns.

The Issues with Child Support from Self-Employed Parents

Cases of family law involving children can be among the most complex, as there are various dynamics and issues to consider. One common issue that may arise in a child support case, is the inability to prove the income of the other spouse, which may affect what they are required to pay. This can be particularly complex when a child is self-employed.

  • When one party in a child support case is self-employed, they may be working “off the books” for some of their income. It can be difficult in those cases to ensure that the parent provides accurate insights into their available cash.
  • Complexities can arise when self-employed parents claim a lot of expenses and deductions in their tax returns, which aren’t always truly related to the business. This reduces the overall taxable income of the parent.
  • When attempting to prove the income of a self-employed parent, Mr. Shapiro may work with his client to show that the lifestyle of the other parent doesn’t match the income they claim. If the other parent then claims another person is paying some of their expenses, the court may choose to impute income for the self-employed parent.
  • Mr. Darren Shapiro often notes that it’s difficult to know for certain that you’re accessing all the information available about a person’s income during a child support case. It may be necessary to engage in a full investigation into the financial accounts provided by the other party. In some cases, discovery techniques may be necessary, particularly when a spouse refuses to supply things like bank statements and wage information.
  • The courts can also appoint forensic accountants to work alongside parents on a divorce or spousal support case as a neutral expert. This can sometimes be the only method which accurately determines what spouses make as a self-employed individual.
Showing Proof of Child Support Payments

Proof is a crucial part of any legal case. In child support cases, it’s important to be able to determine various kinds of proof, not just the proof of a person’s income. For instance, once a family court or supreme court is requested to enforce, modify, or establish support requests, it is important to prove that the paying party has delivered payments according to the instructions provided. Some payments are sent directly to the other parent, whereas others are collected via the Support Collection Unit.

  • If the courts of New York issue a support order that requires the SCU to collect payments, and a paying parent falls behind in those payments, they will be described as “in arrears”. The SCU can take steps to retrieve payment, including taking money from a parent’s wage.
  • When a non-custodial parent pays the other parent directly, the parties must both agree to keep the SCU informed about these payments. The court may also be informed about the payments, however, as Darren Shapiro often reminds his clients, it’s rarely a good idea to send payments directly when a SCU order is in place.
  • The payor in some cases will not always receive credit for direct payments, particularly if the relationship between the two parents is a difficult one.
  • Self-employed individuals can often make payments to the SCU through a check or money order, and it’s sometimes possible to use electronic transfers. Crucially, payments should not be delivered in cash, as they will not always come with a payment record.
  • Parents who maintain a positive relationship with the custodial parent can sometimes request for the custodial parent to send a letter to the collection unit. This notarized letter can give credit to the non-custodial parent for any payments made directly.
  • Mr. Shapiro often advises his clients not to rely on notarized letters to prove their payments, as it’s easy for issues to arise. If the custodial parent refuses to send the letter, the court may see the payments as gifts, rather than payments towards a support order.
  • If a document is issued by the custodial parent, the SCU might not accept it. If this is the case, the paying parent will need to take the issue to the court and request for credit to be formally added to their account. Requests like this are not always granted. It’s important to have any evidence of payments made, just in case.

If you have any concerns or queries about the topics discussed above, feel free to get in touch with Mr. Darren Shapiro through this website. You can send a message to arrange a free initial appointment wherein you can discuss your case for up to 30 minutes. It’s also possible to contact Mr Shapiro over the phone at 516-333-6555.

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