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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 39045
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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my ex is a 1099 employment and is claiming no income, and has

Customer Question

my ex is a 1099 employment and is claiming no income, and has kept his business license suspended when still operating so he doesnt have to pay child support. Will I have to pay him? I am a W2 empolyer and have 76% custody. I make too much I believe to go through social services. Can they force child support and how do I enforce it. He has a lot of money that he seems to hide.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 4 years ago.

I assume your in California. If not, then my comments are generally applicable in every U.S. jurisdiction.

An obigee/payee parent in a child support action can notice the obligor/payor with an inspection demand to produce all of the party's financial statements, issue interrogatories to obtain information about financial information, and can subpoena records from the obligor's various financial institutions, and then "reverse engineer" the parent's actual income.

Sometimes, the info found on the FL-150 form is sufficient, i.e., if a party has $4,000 in expenses, and no income, then someone is paying that person's bills, and testimony can be elicited at the hearing to give the court sufficient information with which to "impute" income to the obligor parent. This is especially true where the parent claims to be unemployed. The court can order the parent to seek work, and return in 45 days. The goal would be to force the parent to find full time employment, even if it's at minimum wage. Most people who are used to earning more, won't work a full-time minimum wage job for very long, because it makes it impossible to generate money from any other source.

It is also possible to have the court order a vocational evaluation of the obligor parent -- however, this is costly, and unless it results in that parent being discovered to have the ability to work, but no willingness to work, then the evaluation may be a waste of effort, because the obligee parent (you) may be stuck with the cost of the evaluation.

The point of all of this is that it's possible to discover a parent who is trying to work under the table -- but, it can be difficult and costly, and sometimes, it's not worth the money to expose the chicanery.

If you are trying to "do-it-yourself" this exercise without a lawyer, then you will probably be defeated, because you won't be able to collect the necessary evidence and get it into the court record.

I'm not trying to paint a bleak picture here, either. It's just my experience that practically no layperson can handle this sort of legal action without professional assistance -- because it's mostly about cross examining the witness and collecting evidence -- and that's what lawyers do best (or, at least that's what they're supposed to do best).

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you! Yea at this time I don't think he is working that much but won't be able to do that for long, he owns a limousine company. He has vacation rental property too, which unfortunately is an expense on his part although he probably doesn't show it as income because he rents it. He also owns a boat and a motor home that he puts in other peoples names. At some point it may be worth spending the money, at this time I don't think it is. I'm dealing with a narcisstic personality and it has been so challenging for so long.

I just need to decide the best time to Spend the money to make it worth it.

Thank you so much
Expert:  socrateaser replied 4 years ago.
Sometimes people let their guard down over time. I don't know if the obligor parent will do this, but the longer you wait, the more likely that there will be an audit trail showing income that's not being reported.

People who deal in all cash transactions are extremely difficult to catch, because they're not reporting their income to the IRS, and they're paying cash for their expenses. This usually leaves only the obvious expenses as a means of imputing income. For example, if the vacation home has a $3,000 per month mortgage, and the limo has a $750 per month payment, and the obligor's rent or home mortgage is another $3,000 per month, then when you add food, utilities, cell phone, internet, tv, dry cleaning, health care, personal vehicle, etc. into the mix, you have at least $8,000 in monthly costs. So, if you get all of that admitted into the court record, and the obligor's FL-150 shows only $4,000 per month in income, then you have one of two things: (1) the obligor is misrepresenting his income; or (2) the obligor is headed towards personal bankruptcy, which would mean that there is some account that has assets and it is being regularly diminished in order to offset the cost of the added expenses.

The trick is to get these details into the court record, so that the judge can "smell a rat," and impute income to the obligor parent. The judge has an obligation to carefully weigh the evidence and try to find income from which child support can be paid. But, the judge does not have an obligation to collect the evidence and provide it in a legally admissible format. That's where most laypersons get hung up. Usually, a forensic accountant is required, and that can cost $5,000 or more to have all of the obligor's financials reviewed, so that the court can have an accurate picture of what's really going on.

You have to weigh the cost of catching the other parent and the value of the increased support, versus the cost of getting the necessary financial evidence. If your child is 5 years old, and you think that support may increase by $200 per month, well, that's an additional $31,200 in (tax-free) support over 13 years. If it costs you an additional $10,000 to get that support, then that may or may not be worth the investment. Obviously, if the amount of added support is only $25 per month, then it's a waste of time. But, if it's an additional $1,000 per month, then that's $156,000 extra support, and suddenly $10,000 in extra legal costs is a pretty good deal for you.

That about covers the waterfront. Best wishes.