Alimony and Working Off the Books
In many divorce settlements, an alimony order is established to protect the lesser earning spouse from financial hardship after the divorce is finalized. Alimony, also known as spousal support, is determined by examining a set of factors about the couple and each partner’s individual needs. This includes each partner’s current income and employability.
In order to accurately determine an appropriate alimony order, both partners must disclose all of their income. When an individual works “off the books,” it can be easy for him or her to make it look like he or she earns nothing, increasing the amount of alimony the court may award. This is not just dishonest, it is fraud in many cases.
Not Reporting your Cash Income Could Mean an End to your Alimony
If your spouse pays you alimony, he or she has the right to modify the alimony order when he or she deems it appropriate. You have this right, too.
When you start a new job, your change in income will impact the amount of alimony you can receive. Depending on your circumstances, it can reduce your alimony payments or it can terminate them completely. Because of this, working off the books can be quite attractive to an alimony recipient – but do not do this. If your former spouse finds out about your cash-only job, he or she can present evidence of it to the court to support a petition to terminate your alimony order. Finding out about your job is easier than you might think. A friend of your spouse’s, a relative, or your child could tip him or her off about it, or he or she could simply come across your new job by interacting with your company or seeing you at work.
You or your Spouse Can Modify your Alimony Order
Alimony orders can be modified when there is a significant change in circumstances for either party. This includes securing employment. In fact, many alimony orders are structured to provide the recipient with financial support while he or she works to complete a vocational program or degree, then end when he or she becomes financially self-sufficient. Financial self-sufficiency does not always begin the day an individual starts a new job, though.
Sometimes, he or she still needs help after starting the job because of divorce-related debts or student debt.
Report all your job changes to your lawyer. He or she can give you legal advice on handling your alimony order, including modifying it, due to your change in circumstances.
Work with an Experienced Orlando Divorce Lawyer
Your lawyer’s job is to help you understand the legal aspects of your alimony order and every other divorce-related situation you are in. He or she is also there to represent your case when you need it. To get started on your case with an experienced Orlando divorce lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. today to set up your initial legal consultation with us.