Richard was an architect with his own firm. Christy worked during the marriage as a graphic designer and made substantially less money than Richard. She did not have her own firm.
Determining Richard’s income was critical to obtaining maintenance for Christy and an equitable distribution of the business. Richard’s gross personal income appeared to be $45,000 per year after taxes. However, discussions with Christy and an analysis of her records demonstrated that their lifestyle greatly exceeded $45,000 per year. In addition, the gross business earnings of Richard’s architectural practice was $500,000. Thus, we needed to analyze the business deductions. We retained an accountant, obtained the business records and check books and also deposed Richard and his one employee about the business practices. Our in depth discovery of the business revealed that some of the business deductions for supplies, travel and office expenses were not legitimate business expenses. They were either inflated numbers and/or included items that were purely personal expenses. The Court concluded that the dollar value of these deductions were to be imputed income to Richard. Christy received maintenance based on the higher income.