In re Marriage of Herald and Steadman: A court can, within appropriate limits, consider Social Security benefits for the proper division of property.
By Laura Morgan, Family Law Consultant
Although a court cannot divide a party’s social security benefits, the court can, within appropriate limits, consider the existence or absence of anticipated Social Security benefits in effecting just and proper division of property.
Laura W. Morgan is the owner and operator at Family Law Consulting in Charlottesville, Virginia.Laura is available for consultation, brief writing and research on family law issues throughout the country. She can be reached through her website. www.famlawconsult.com
In general, the ability to “hide income” is primarily available to owners of closely-held businesses. However, do not begin this analysis with the corporate or partnership tax returns; begin with the individual tax returns. Our caveat is that there are many ways to obscure and underreport income to the taxing authorities, some sophisticated and many quite naïve; our method is designed to establish the fact that further investigation is necessary. In other words, it serves as one of your tools to assess the cost/benefit analysis of bringing on a forensic accounting expert to your client’s team since our method will not uncover every instance of underreported income.