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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 17513
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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11 February 2016 01:05 How should I argue in court that wife

Customer Question

11 February 2016 01:05
How should I argue in court that wife has substantial income ( above what is reported on 2015 tax return) and that it is not fair to demand alimony from me?Background:
We have been married in New Jersey for 8 years. There were no children born to this marriage. I have filed for divorce 1.5 years ago, but dismissed case 1 year ago to give it another try under pressure from our rabbi. We still have disagreements and I filed for divorce second time 7 months ago. My wife has her own business where she receives a lot of payments not reported on 1099 form by other companies. As a result she does not report it on tax return. I work for an employer full time (W2) and our married filing together tax return for 2015 shows that I earn most of income in our family. The reality is the opposite, my wife earns more than me, but that income is not declared to IRS because other companies do not report those payments. Because those companies do not report payments, she did not report them on our tax return. In addition, my wife's children receive deceased husband social security benefits (from previous marriage). If divorced, she will also get "widow" benefits from deceased husband according to her. My wife says that after 8 years of marriage I owe her alimony. She also threatened to "close" her business to make it look like she has no income to justify the alimony from me.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Based on the information that you have provided here, you face quite a hurdle if you try to argue that her income is more than what is reported on your 2015 joint tax return without implicating yourself in the tax fraud. You and your wife under-reported your income on your joint tax returns. You cannot then turnaround and argue that the Court should look to the unreported income as basis for denying your wife's request for alimony. The Court may not entertain your argument based on clean hands doctrine--that you and your wife conspired to cheat on your tax returns and thus you deserve what you get. Nonetheless, you can legitimately bring up the issue of your wife's existing business and potential income from the business as the basis for the Court not awarding her spousal support/alimony.

Finally, her children's Social Security survivor benefits are irrelevant in your case, but her Social Security survivor benefits would be relevant and thus you can bring that up in your case