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Inaccurate Reporting of Income in Divorce May Cost You Much More Than It’s Worth!

Inaccurate Reporting of Income in Divorce May Cost You Much More Than It’s Worth!

When making or opposing a request for modification or termination of spousal support and/or modification of child support in a divorce or a paternity case from the other parent, California law requires that each spouse prepare, file and serve Judicial Counsel Form FL-150, Income and Expense Declaration. The Declaration is typically referred to as an “I & E” and is signed under penalty of perjury.

The 4-page form requests among other things, that each party disclose his or her income from all sources, e.g. salary, overtime, bonuses, royalties, investment income, and income from self-employment efforts. The form further requires proof to support the income disclosed on the I&E. Proof of income may be submitted in the form of paystubs for the two (2) months immediately before the hearing, or a copy of the party’s latest tax returns.

Pursuant to Family Code section 3667 if the court finds that the I&E of the responding party is incomplete, inaccurate, missing tax returns or not submitted in good faith, the court is permitted to award attorney fees and other costs as sanctions against that party. In this situation, the fees and sanctions are awarded because the responding party was not truthful in reporting his or her income on the I&E.

The sanctions may include payment of all costs of the modification motion, including the filing fee, and costs of any necessary deposition and subpoena to obtain complete and accurate information. The cost of the motion, depositions and subpoenas can easily add up to hundreds of dollars, and depending on the extent of the responding party’s financial circumstances, even thousands of dollars.

The take away? … Be accurate in reporting your income.