Child Support Disputes: How Electronic Evidence can Help
Whether a case involves temporary child support, permanent child support, or the modification of a child support order, the courts determine child support payments based on evidence of the parents’ income and cost to support the children’s basic needs. Thus, we frequently look for and find evidence of wages, investment income, retirement, bonuses, incentive pay. Additionally, we will look for evidence of the living costs, such as food, clothes, medical care, education, and other expenses to care for them.
Family Law E-Discovery
Example: A wife was a stay-at-home mom with an 8, 6, and 3-year-old. During her 14 year marriage, she did not concern herself with finances. Her lawyer now needs to collect information about her husband’s income, investments, and the expenses of each household.
Benefits of Evidence PDF Reports
We review financial data on computers, cell phones, and online to find evidence related to the income of each spouse. The income may include wages (including bonuses and overtime), investment income, annuities, gifts, trust payments, insurance payments, and other income. To help ascertain an accurate income estimation, we provide the following type of information for lawyers to review:
- Bank Accounts
- Cost-of-living adjustments (COLA)
- Disability Income
- Employer compensated housing
- Employer compensated vehicle
- Employer lump sum payments
- Financial databases
- Financial software (Quicken, QuickBooks, Expensr, Gnu Cash, Wesabe, Money Trackin, MoneyDance, AceMoney, Yodlee, Banzaiway, and other financial software.
- Government Pension Statements and Summaries
- Monthly Income Reports
- Paycheck automatic deductions (e.g. insurance, retirement, investments)
- Retirement Statements and summaries
- Social Security Benefits
- Stock Dividends
- Stock Portfolios
- Tax Child Care Credits
- Tax Dependency Exemptions
- Tax Earned Income Tax Credits
- Tax Educational IRAs
- Tax Head of Household Filing Status
- Tax Interest Deduction for Qualified Educational Loans
- Tax Medical Expense deductions
- Tax planning information
- Tax refunds
- Tax returns (personal and business)
- Tips from work
- Unemployment Income
- W-2 Records
- Wage Records
- Writs of Execution
Financial Information: Costs
We review financial data on computers, cell phones, and online to find evidence related to the expenses of each spouse, each household, and the children. This includes the percentage of time each parent spends with the children. For example, you might want to find receipts, statements, or other evidence indicating the amounts of any of the following:
- Common Household Expenses: Bills for living expenses, Bank service charges and fees, Cell phones, Health insurance, Medical care (ordinary and unusual medical expenses), Mental health care, Mortgage, Food and groceries, Dental care (e.g. braces), Internet expenses (cable or DSL), Landline phone, Laundry and dry cleaning Online entertainment services (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Sirius, XM Radio), Vehicle costs (gas, maintenance, repairs, and savings for a new vehicle), Vehicle insurance, parking, and registration fees, Tax returns (personal and business), Utilities (electric, gas, water, garbage), Vacations, CPA, accounting, and tax preparation fees.
- Spouse-Specific Expenses: Alimony payments from a previous marriage, Car rentals, Child support payments from a previous marriage, Contributions to household expenses by a new partner or spouse, Disability insurance policy to make support payments if unable to work.
- Children’s Expenses: Babysitting, Children allowances, Daycare expenses, Education (e.g. public school, private school, tuition, and tutoring), Lessons (music, art, sports, language), SAT and college preparation courses, School books, lunches, supplies, and transportation, School uniforms and clothing, Special needs of children with disabilities, Sports expenses (clubs, school trips, uniforms, and equipment).
- Other Family Expenses: Birthday and holiday gifts, Charitable giving and donations, Clothing, Household supplies, Gym and exercise clubs, Group activities (e.g. boy scouts, girl scouts, and summer camps), Hobbies, Entertainment (sporting events, movies, plays, concerts), Books, Personal budgets, Personal care (hair care, cosmetics, massages, manicures), Pet care (food, boarding, and veterinarian), Plants, Postage, Public transportation (bus, train, taxi), Restaurant meals, Support for relatives.
Financial Information: Income
In some cases, courts or lawyers use child support guidelines, child support calculators, or formulas based on income and expense data to calculate child support. Our mission is to provide the Lawyers with all of the financial information they need to best represent their clients. We are particularly helpful when the opposing party tries to minimize or hide income, or exaggerate expenses, to attempt to minimize their child support obligation.
The following are other types of financial information we routinely collect, search for, and provide relating to the issue of child support, such as.
- The bankruptcy of either parent (typically Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy)
- Child Support Enforcement Agency information
- Children get married
- Children join the military
- Credit score and credit rating by credit bureaus
- Emancipation of the children
- Income or Wage Assignments
- Previous Divorce Orders, Judgments, or Decrees of either parent
- Student loans, grants, and financial aid
- Support paid or received for previous marriage
- Tax Credits (e.g. child tax credit, education tax credit, and earned income tax credit)
- Tax Deductions
- Tax Exemptions
- Termination of parental rights
- Wage Garnishment
Lawyers often provide the evidence we collect about child support to expert witnesses. For example:
- Financial Advisers: Accountants, Actuaries Bankers, Stockbrokers, Tax Advisors, Financial Planners, Forensic Accountants
- Clinical and Medical Specialists: Doctors, Child Therapists, Social Workers, Psychologists, Counselors, Psychologists, Psychologists, Employer Benefits Personnel, Private Investigators or Private Detectives, Vocational Experts
- Other Professionals: Business Appraisers, Career Counselors
State Child Support Information and Calculator
The following is a list (by state) of child support calculators which will indicate the key support factors to consider:
State Child Support Information and Calculators
District of Columbia http://csgc.oag.dc.gov/application/main/intro.aspx
New Hampshire http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcss/calculator.htm
Rhode Island www.cse.ri.gov/services/establishment_childsup.php
South Carolina http://www.state.sc.us/dss/csed/calculator.htm
West Virginia https://dhhr.wv.gov/bcse/Pages/BCSE.aspx
Below is a list of the Child Support Enforcement Agencies for each state. These website addresses may appear in emails or electronic files.
District of Columbia http://cssd.dc.gov
New Hampshire http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcss/index.htm
New Jersey www.njchildsupport.org
New Mexico http://www.hsd.state.nm.us/csed
New York https://newyorkchildsupport.com
North Dakota www.nd.gov/dhs/services/childsupport
Rhode Island www.cse.ri.gov
South Carolina www.state.sc.us/dss/csed
South Dakota https://dss.sd.gov/childsupport/
West Virginia www.wvdhhr.org/bcse