Determine Your Income? Is Everything Reported?

Step 2C – Determine Income (yours and your spouses)

Your lawyer will need documentation showing your income (if you work outside the home) and the income of your spouse. This is important for a number of reasons, but primarily for child and spousal support.

If your spouse is a salaried employee then your job is easy. Obtain a copy of the most recent pay stub and the most recent Income Tax Return. If you do not have access to either of these, you can obtain a copy of the Income Tax Return by requesting it from the IRS.

Complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return and mail it to the IRS address in the instructions along with a $39 fee for each tax year requested. Copies are generally available for returns filed in the current and past 6 years. You can download the form at

If your spouse is self employed, then the job of determining their income becomes much more difficult. This is why discretion about your divorce plans is important. You may want to discreetly question your spouse (or if he has one, his business partner or his partner’s spouse) about income. You can attempt to get copies of bank account statements and financial statements of the business.

Another good way to prove income and assets of a self employed spouse is to obtain a copy of a loan application or net worth statement that they may have submitted to a bank or other lending institution for a loan.

Sometimes it is difficult to prove the actual income of a self employed spouse. At this point, gather the information you can. In the case of a self employed spouse, your lawyer will likely have to help you by using the discovery process to obtain and analyze additional information.

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