Your income — or that of your spouse — can become an important factor during a divorce. Whether you're going through an amicable divorce or battling it out in court, understanding exactly where the dollars fall can help you make better decisions or negotiations for property division and child or spousal support.
it's over easy provides spouse and child support calculation tools based on the same formulas used by the courts, and as you work through the process on the platform, you're guided to enter information used in those calculations. Getting from that information to a solid idea of what might be owed to whom takes only a few clicks, but the accuracy of each calculation obviously requires you to provide honest, accurate information.
This post provides instructions for converting various forms of income into amounts that are easy to enter on the platform.
What Types of Income Do I Need to Include In My Paperwork?
it's over easy makes it simple to identify the types of income you might need to include in your divorce paperwork. Our platform lets you enter all of the income types below, though some may not be relevant in all calculations. By entering as much information as you can, you increase the accuracy of any calculations performed by the platform tools.
- Self-employment income
- Bonuses and commissions
- Public assistance
- Spousal support
- Pensions, Social Security or retirement fund payments
- Disability benefits
- Unemployment benefits
- Worker's compensation
Calculating Your Income
When entering your income amounts, be sure you enter the amounts before taxes and other deductions are subtracted.
Here’s how to convert bi-monthly payments
Some employers pay twice a month, often on the 1st and 15th. If you receive two paychecks (or two checks from any income source) every month, and your pay is relatively similar every month, it's easy to calculate your monthly income. Simply add the two checks from the last month and report that amount.
Here’s how to convert irregular payments
Some individuals receive irregular payments from employers or other sources. For example, you might have investment income that pays out every few months at very different rates each time. Individuals who work in sales might receive a bonus check each month, and that amount could vary widely depending on the season.
Simply reporting last month's income could skew things in divorce calculations, which isn't fair to either your spouse or you. If you had an especially low income last month, then your spouse could end up paying support that isn't really necessary; the opposite is true if you had an especially good month. It might be tempting to skew things in your favor, but dishonesty on divorce paperwork doesn't do you any favors. First, it makes an amicable divorce less likely. Second, it creates an ineffective post-divorce situation, which could mean you land back in court later. Finally, it could result in legal issues in the future.
If you're dealing with varying income over time from a particular source, gather all your income from that source for a year. Add it up and divide by 12 to get a good average amount per month. If you don't have access to a year's worth of data, then try to gather enough to get through a "cycle" that includes both high and low times to ensure your numbers are as accurate as possible.
How to estimate self-employment income
Self-employment income can be difficult to calculate if you don't keep good records, and you have to know how to include the right types of business expenses. For example, if you are paid by clients but a broker or agent takes a 10 to 30 percent cut before you receive any funds, then you would likely report the amount you received, not the gross. You can't, however, subtract your personal cell phone bill simply because you sometimes use it for business; you'll likely be entering those types of expenses separately on the platform's expenses form.
Follow the same guidelines for calculating self-employment averages as you do for irregular income: Use several months of data. Most informal profit-and-loss statements, such as those used by banks when considering self-employed individuals for loans, require at least three months of data, for example.
Remember that you can always reach out to experts for help on calculating financial matters for your divorce documents. If you have especially complex money considerations, consider talking to an accountant as you work through the divorce process.