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Fort Myers Florida Family Law Legal Blog

How owning a business can affect child support

On Behalf of | May 18, 2022 | Child Support |

Florida parents who are divorced or co-parenting want the best for their children, and child support payments help achieve this goal. In a typical child support case, the amount of child support is determined after an examination of the income of the parent paying support, using documents such as pay stubs or tax returns.

The amount of child support depends on various factors

Setting the appropriate amount of child support becomes much more complex if you are a business owner responsible for paying support. You need to prove your income to the court. This is not as simple as reporting your average monthly salary. You will also need to show any income from stock options, investments or fringe benefits.

Although reporting income from every source will likely increase your child support amount, do not forget about the many types of possible business expenses you may be able to deduct from your income. You likely have inventory and operating costs that can be deducted. The cost of employee salaries, benefits and bonuses should also be considered.

Provide a big picture overview of your average income

As a business owner, you know that your monthly income can fluctuate quite a bit, and this can work against you if a court decides to use one of your highest earning months to set your child support amount. Presenting a yearly tax return may be a better option.

An experienced family law attorney can develop a strategy for providing the court with numbers that more accurately reflect your average yearly earnings, rather than just one profitable month.

Child support can be modified for changes in income. Therefore, you may find yourself petitioning for modification more than the average child support payor, depending on the needs of your business.

Have documentation to prove everything

It is important to keep documents of everything involving your business income and expenses and be honest about what the numbers show. You may be accused of lying about your income because you are a business owner and may be seen as having a greater ability to hide income or fudge numbers. Having detailed documentation increases a court’s confidence in your good faith.

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