Fair And Accurate Financial Support
Money matters can be a hot button in divorce and custody proceedings. One party is concerned about paying too much support; the other worries about getting short-changed. On either side of the equation, court-ordered support will have a significant impact on your finances.
As an experienced family law attorney and a CPA, I can look out for your financial interests in proceedings for child support and spousal support (alimony). I practice in the West Virginia family courts of Mineral, Hampshire, Hardy, and Grant County, as well as Maryland jurisdictions (Allegany County and Garrett County).
Determination Of Child Support
The state child support guidelines are fairly straightforward. The level of support is based chiefly on the parents' incomes, the number of children and custody arrangements. However, there may be legitimate reasons to deviate up or down from the statutory presumption. It may be difficult to verify the income of a parent who is self-employed or whose earnings fluctuate. The court can also impute income if the parent is intentionally unemployed or underemployed.
My credentials as a Certified Public Accountant can aid in ascertaining true income and earning capacity. I know where to look and what documents to demand. I also handle modification of child support when there is a change in circumstances, such as job loss, illness, promotion or remarriage.
Determination Of Alimony
Alimony is less predictable, which is why it is important to have an experienced lawyer advocating for you. A multi-factor test is codified in the statute, but the judge also has discretion. An award of alimony may not be feasible after child support is calculated. In other cases, the circumstances may favor an award of permanent alimony or short-term “rehabilitative” alimony. The court considers length of the marriage, age and health of the parties, income disparity, employable skills, sacrifices during the marriage, standard of living and other issues.
I can make a convincing argument in court for or against spousal support, or I can negotiate alimony within the broader context of the divorce and property settlement.