Business Owners: Determining Income

One of the toughest aspects of a divorce can be the determination of income. This is especially true when one or both parties own a business. As a business owner for over 30 years and as an experienced family law attorney, I can help evaluate income determination.

Income determined for taxes isn't necessarily income as far as the family court in Georgia is concerned. The challenge comes because even if the business owner has a "salary", there are often additional sources of income above and beyond the "salary" that the person receives.

Experts, Documents And Discovery

I frequently encourage clients to rely on experts such as forensic CPAs who specialize in the area of divorce and business income. The first step is for the lawyer to gather the information and documentation about the business. The second step is evaluating that information in order to develop a picture of the business valuation as well as income.

Some of the documents that may be evaluated include:

  • Tax returns
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Financial statements
  • Checking account statements, business and personal
  • Credit card statements, business and personal
  • Accounts receivable
  • Monthly budgets, business and personal

It can be a challenge to get these documents from the other party or from the business. While we try to get documents through informal discovery - a request for information - sometimes we need to pursue formal discovery. Formal discovery is a formal, court-enforced request for information, statements or documents that are not easily accessible to the party requesting them. It can be expensive, so ideally informal discovery is a better practice.

Contact Bruner & Associates

If you are concerned about your divorce, business assets or the income determination, contact me online or call 404-348-8953 (toll-free 866-544-0951) for a free phone consultation. I assist clients throughout the Atlanta metro area.