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Income and Expense Declaration Attachments for Child/Spousal Support or Attorney Fees

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It is extremely important that you comply with the law regarding the necessary documents to attach to your Income and Expense Declaration to make sure that you avoid questions by the court and challenges by the opposing parties/attorney.

Whenever a financial issue, for example, child support, spousal support or attorney fees are at issue, the law requires that you file an Income and Expense Declaration within a specified time.  When filing the Income and Expense Declaration, the law also requires that you attach certain documentation.  The California Rules of Court Rule 5.128(a) states that a current Income and Expense  Declaration must be filed and requires that you attach paycheck stubs for the last two months and a redacted tax return for the previous year.

The Family Code Section 3665(a) as it relates to the necessary documents to attached states “a copy of the prior year’s federal and state personal income tax returns shall be attached to the income and expense declaration”.  In addition, the Income information page on the declaration states that it is mandatory that you attach pay stubs for the last two months and proof of any other income.

When submitting your tax return, you must be careful because you must redact, or blacken out, the sensitive personal information, most importantly your social security number.  You should note that the social security number is repeated on every page of your tax return.  You must be very careful in protecting your privacy.

You may questions whether or not the opposing party has a right to that tax return and that is answered by Family Code Section 3552(b) which says the tax returns may be examined by the other party and are discoverable by the other party.  A party may also be examined by the other party as to the contents of a tax return submitted.  You may also have to attach supportive documents to the Income and Expense Declaration.  For example, the law allows a deduction for work related expenses.  If, for example, you are required to pay for tools, uniforms or equipment as part of your employment, then you might want to attach some form of documentation that supports the work related expense.  Another example would be if you have to travel any extensive distance to accommodate visitation or custody.  If that is the case, you might be entitled to a deduction from the guideline and in order to obtain such a deductions, applicable to the guideline, you might need to attach documents like, for example, invoices showing airfare to allow the court to consider the deduction.  Another example rests with the interest and property tax deductions.  Typically, if your pay interest on your residence for the mortgage payment, it will be found in your tax return and therefore by attaching the redacted form of the tax return, it will show the reduction for both of those expenses.  These types of deductions and documents are not required by the Family Code as paycheck stubs and tax returns but they are helpful if you are seeking a deduction to apply to the guideline.

Assume that you are not a W2 earner, and further assume that you have your own business, then you need to provide the court with some evidence of the source of your income.  In other words, if you have your own business then you will have a Schedule C for your tax return that would show the gross revenue  minus the recognized deductions necessary for you to operate the business.  You might want to attach your Schedule C from your tax return or a profit and loss statement simply to show the gross revenues and the recognized expenses associates with operating the business.  Understand that the Family Code recognizes income of various sources.  It recognizes businesses where the net taxable income can be applied to the guideline.

Simply understand the importance of an Income and Expense Declaration and that you are required to provide your best estimate of your expenses, your actual expenses or your proposed needs.  That is a decision let with you and an attorney.  Remember, you have the responsibility to attach certain documents and hopefully that helps you in that regard.

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Comments 02

  • Marizela lAzo

    May 22, 2014 4:31 pm · Reply

    My question I’ have custody of my kids just recentlythe absent parent Started to pay me child support now question is we been split since 2004 can I get back pay for all those years he hasn’t been thre to support our two kids financially until now he’s been paying child support since 11/5/2012 wat can I do about my situation

    • Howington Law

      August 25, 2014 1:47 pm · Reply

      Hi Marizela,
      Thank you for asking your question. For your confidentiality, please contact our office directly at 909-581-6000 and ask to speak with Bobbie.

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