Business Owner Alimony and Child Support-Mitigate Your Exposure By Santo Artusa on May 09, 2020

"How much alimony must I pay?"

"I own a small business, how much alimony do I have to pay?"

 "How much child support must I pay or can I receive?"

"I am not going to pay alimony, I'd rather stay with him or her."

These are typical questions/comments I receive from those filing for divorce or served with divorce papers in New Jersey. Individuals search online for the "perfect answers" but there are none. In the State of New Jersey, there is no SET amount for alimony, there is no percentage that is used by the courts. There is a rule of thumb to give you a general idea but that is not the law and it can give you false hope or it can make you vomit if you are the paying spouse. I've seen the same set of facts in different cases lead to $6000 a month in alimony, $3800 a month in alimony, $2900 in one and in another $4750. So you see, there is no simple calculation. For a lawyer or mediator to sell the situation or try to simply finish the case and move on, they will try to say it is the difference between your income and your spouse's income multiplied by 25%. Ok, which income? Which Year? How Many Years Were Used? Is it Adjusted Gross Income? Total Gross? Gross Receipts for a business owner? What about a small business with partners, is it the salary they take? What about kids and child support, how does that affect the amount of alimony? There are many variables to determine the amount of alimony if, in fact, it is an alimony case. 

I have successfully represented successful business owners in divorce cases in New Jersey. Some of them were lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs, contractors, plumbers, auto body repair shop, electricians and on and on. What makes a case different when you represent a business owner? As a business owner and someone that grew up in a business owner's household, I know that a business owner lives breathes and dreams about his or her business.  I know that you cannot base your life on one year in business or two years or whatever, you have to find your flow and try to improve your business all the while managing many different functions. Small Business owners have higher divorce rates than w2 employees as they have much more to deal with than simply going to work and punching out. Business owners take their work home with them and they put so much more energy into the business than an employee ever will. So when I represent my business clients, I know how hard they work and I know they want a fighter. They also want someone that can guide them so they avoid pitfalls and ruining what they've built. 

With business owners, it can be beneficial to show tax returns for several years rather than the last one or two if those were your best years. It can be in your favor to average the earnings over time so that you do not get hit with an alimony number based on only your best years. The business client needs a lawyer that can understand the business tax return and the understanding of the ups and downs of business, I do.  While I can write on and on, I like you am working at 11:49pm writing a blog instead of being in bed, and with that passion, I represent business clients. If you are seeking to file for divorce or have been served with divorce papers in New Jersey and own a business or business and seek an attorney that knows how to defend you, contact me today on 973-337-9643. 


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