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I am a full-time professor at a university but am also a self-employed

musician that earns a considerable...
I am a full-time professor at a university but am also a self-employed musician that earns a considerable income beyond my teaching salary. My studio (office in the home) is used to create music for professional purposes and is qualified as a legal deduction on my tax returns.

In calculating income to determine my alimony obligation, isn't this deduction allowable to determine the net income?

Does the location matter? The divorce case is in NJ.
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Answered in 9 minutes by:
8/1/2013
Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33,167
Experience: JD, 17 years legal experience including family law
Verified

Hello and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. Before I can give you an accurate answer to your question, please provide the following additional information:

Your question is whether your business expenses can be used to offset your self-employment income for purposes of calculating child support? Have you already reported your rent/mortgage as an expense for purposes of determining support?

I look forward to assisting you as soon as I have received this information. Thank you.

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Hello Tina,


 


To give you a clearer picture, there is a fixed amount of alimony based on my teaching salary ($75,000) which amounts to $731 per month. Any "overage" alimony is determined via my self-employed income which obviously can fluctuate from year to year.

Hello again, Richard, and thank you for clarifying the situation. My apologies for the misunderstanding.

While the expense for your home is typically a deductible expense for income tax purposes since you are self-employed, there is no set formula or rule with regard to calculating alimony in NJ (as is the case in most states).

Since it is an actual expense you incur though, I would typically argue that the expense should be taken into account when calculating your net income for purposes of determining alimony. Expenses such as depreciation which are not an actual expense should arguably not be included in determining your net income, but since you do pay extra rent/mortgage to have the extra space for your home office, I would argue that it should be deducted from your gross income in determine the amount of net income from your self-employment unless your support order indicates otherwise.

Here is a link which summarizes the law in NJ, which basically indicates that there is no set formula and such issues are typically decided through mediation if the parties cannot agree or the court order does not indicate precisely what income is to be used in determining support.

http://www.equitablemediation.com/2012/how-is-alimony-calculated-in-new-jersey/

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need so I will be compensated for my time from the deposit you posted with this website. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!

Tina

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX your prompt and informative reply. It seems that there is somewhat of a "gray area" in my case so I may have to consider omitting this deduction. I appreciate your time and expertise and would welcome any future thoughts should you discover any new information.


 


Richard

Hello again, Richard.

Yes, this is a gray area and ultimately up to the spouses to decide although if the matter were litigated, you would have a reasonably good argument to take the deduction. It is probably not worth pushing the issue to litigation though as that could be quite expensive.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need so I will be compensated for my time from the deposit you posted with this website. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!

Tina

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33,167
Experience: JD, 17 years legal experience including family law
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Tina

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