Ex Hiding Income and Discovery


#1

Hi,

My ex remarried to a man who has his own business and has several vacation homes near a beach resort in South Carolina. My ex has not worked since our PSS hearing four years ago. However I believe my ex is getting substantial assistance from her now husband (married since march 2011). In particular we believe that she has been getting her rent, utilities, car expenses, phone, and even my sons medical bills paid for by her now husband over the past couple of years. My questions are -

  1. Would the above constitute income if she was receiving this assistance prior to marriage? If not, why?
  2. If this is counted as income can I go after her for hiding it from me? Would it be possible make her repay the difference of what she was getting to what I actually should have been paying on a monthly basis in child support (i.e. getting compensated retroactively).
  3. Since my ex is now married to a man that has his own business and multiple vacation homes wouldn’t it be fairly easy to get paid under the table by her now husband and just now file a w-2? Given this fact how would you determine what is compensation and what is not? We have requested her bank statements for the past two years.
  4. My ex was given a letter explaining the above by me back on July 29th which also contained the calendar call date but she failed to even acknowledge that she even received the letter up to and including the calendar call day. As expected, my poor ex and her husband were not at the calendar call - only there attorney. The judge stated that he would not delay the trial for discovery as the defendant has been aware of the calendar date for several months. Given that the defendant has refused to work with us and if we can prove that she has been hiding income what could the court do to her?

Thanks in advance!


#2

not a lawyer…

but if your ex hasn’t worked, how is she hiding income?

Whatever her new spouse makes is his money and his business. It isn’t factored into what either or you or your ex need to contribute to support your child.


#3

I understand your frustration, but you will have an uphill battle here. If her new husband is wealthy and paying her bills and such so that she doesn’t have to get a job and earn income, then she is not earning income for child support purposes. You would need to prove in court that she is suppressing her income in bad faith so as to avoid having her child support decrease. Her being married to someone who has money will not likely be considered bad faith. You can certainly ask for all bank records in discovery, which it appears you have done. You can also request her tax returns if you would like, but of course you will need to discount step-father’s income as his doesn’t count for child support, so it wouldn’t do you much good unless you felt strongly that she was earning income somewhere and had a W-2. To answer your first question, no, such payments wouldn’t be considered income even before marriage. They would be viewed as gifts under the law.


#4

Thanks Crystal. It sounds like the income thing could go either way. I feel comfortable bringing up to the judge so that he could be aware that there is no telling how much extra help my ex is getting. There has to be some justification or defense for someone in my position who has an ex that doesn’t want to work because she NOW married a man that is well off.

@ nonin - My presumption is that she has not worked but I don’t know for sure as she has shared zero information with me. As mentioned above, some people will try to take advantage of the system.


#5

You are welcome. I wish you luck.


#6

HI, I had my calender call on November 3rd. My ex did not show up - instead she hired an attorney to represent her which probably should not have come as a surprise to us. For some reason the judge asked why I was requesting a reduction in child support. When the judge called on me he had asked about why I wanted to reduce child support I had only gotten to point three - daycare costs for daycare that my son was no longer having - when he had stated to my ex’s attorney that there should be some points of agreement. I then told the judge that I wanted discovery and he stated that he would not postpone the trial date as my ex had known since July that I was requesting modification. Judge Chapman stated that he would allow discovery but only if my ex received the request “in the next week.” Meaning, by Friday, November 11th. My wife and I worked all weekend to prepare my financial documents and to compile a list of questions that we needed information on. This was delivered to her on Tuesday, November 8th. In the packet we stated that we needed the information back by November 18th. To this day, we still have not received anything from my ex. I sent an email yesterday to Judge Chapman’s assistant (Sadie Dauberman) stating that we had not received any information from my ex and what we should do. Since I had not heard anything back from Sadie I followed up with a phone call today and received no reply. Our court date is December 6th so I am worried that my ex is playing games with me. What should I do? My ex has not even acknowledged the receipt of my financial information (or even the acknowledgement of the original complaint for reduction in child support).


#7

She will have 30 days to respond, and if she does not you can seek the court’s assistance and ask that she be compelled to produce the requested documents. Unfortunately there are attorneys out there who are non-responsive, both to pro se parties and other attorneys. In the event the discovery has not been completed you may file a motion to compel compliance and set the matter for hearing. With respect to the continuation of the custody matter the court will set a date on its own if opposing counsel continues to ignore the case. I suggest you read the rules regarding discovery (NCRCP Article 5).