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Is your spouse hiding income during a divorce?

Breadwinner spouses in the throes of an acrimonious divorce have developed multiple ways to hide the true amount of their earned income. In many cases, they accomplish this through collusion with their employers.

Below are some of the most common ways to hide earnings during a divorce:

-- Deferring a significant portion of income until the divorce becomes final. Signs to look out for include an unusual dip in earnings and emails or letters to or from an employer requesting income deferment.

-- Per diem pay that far exceeds their expenses. This tactic is frequently employed by salespeople who work out of town and those in other industries whose companies transfer them to remote locations for part of their work time. It is quite simple to increase a per diem rate and keep a salary static.

-- The value of a spouse's employment perks and expense accounts. It may be possible to tack on the value of some perks to your spouse's salary, thus increasing the amount of spousal and child support they must pay. These perks can include company cars, paid parking expenses, generous expense accounts that can include tickets to professional sporting events, big name concerts and Broadway shows.

-- Any performance or safety bonuses. Many spouses are not even aware during the marriage when their wife or husband is the recipient of a windfall at work. A forensic accountant might be able to delve into their payroll accounting and ferret out these valuable tidbits.

-- Business trips to exotic locales can have a substantial fair market value. In certain cases, all or portions of these trips could be construed as income, as can use of an employer-owned summer or other vacation home.

-- Pay for unused vacation, personal and sick days. Many companies offer their employees salary in lieu of their use of time off.

-- Profit-sharing dividends from the company. If these are paid out, you may be entitled to a portion of the proceeds. The same is true if they are reinvested into 401(k) plans or other accounts.

It can be difficult for a spouse to discover all of the ways income can be hidden during a divorce. Make sure your legal representative has a clear picture of your spouse's true financial situation.

Source: Divorce Source, "The Top Ways Your Spouse Can Hide Money Through His Work," Theodore Sliwinski, Esq., accessed Nov. 20, 2015

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