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#772442 - 08/29/16 10:23 PM Good Enough Proof of Side Income?
Mags2010 Offline

recently joined

Registered: 08/29/16
Posts: 2
I am divorcing a child support accountant that works for the local FOC. I filed a couple of weeks ago and the ball is rolling. He wanted the divorce. I wanted to work it out and keep our family together. We have 2 small children. Together 6 years, married < 6 months from time of his divorce announcement right after we had nice holidays last year with the family. It is what it is right now.

Husband has an obsessive fishkeeping (read: breeding) "hobby" that overtook our lives, free time, and 1250 s/f home over the past 2 years. It went from a couple of fish tanks to literally over 50 to date. Some are huge 6 footers, custom built and triple stacked. We're talking in the living room, dining room, backroom+. Even blew out the electric overloading the system in one part of the house. He attends local auctions throughout the year (about 4-6 or so that I have seen him prep for) and makes cash sales on Craigslist and via his fish association forum. He is now a BOARD MEMBER of this association. I have personally seen and snapshotted a $400+ auction check and corresponding bank deposit slip while I was still living there early this year. He also had 2 buyers come in Dec. 2015 where he bragged to me he sold over $800 worth of fish.

We have never shared a bank account and because I was a semi-stay at home mom, I did not stress him about the extra side money. He makes $50K a year working for the FOC and his bills are not terrible in the least. Car paid off, mortgage ~$900, pays a low health ins. premium, has over 800 credit score++ and he puts away for retirement. He is good and VERY careful with his money. I have no idea if there is a savings account(s). I know for a fact that he has not claimed these checks and cash on the first and last taxes we filed together for 2015 and am pretty sure it was the same deal on his separate 2014 taxes. I have a print out of his last Craigslist ad listing 10 species for sale (he does not know this yet). Mostly "babies". He lists them from $4-$10 each. Some of these are only 1" in length that are selling for $10 EACH and no one ever buys just 1. I looked up these species and just one female can have 20-100 babies at a time several times a year depending on the type of fish. He scoffs and laughs and says it's all just a mere HOBBY.

What would be the best approach in presenting documentation aside from the ads and printouts from the online forum sale ads? Have my attorney school the court with a big fish breeding presentation? I think most people would / might buy the fish hobby thing coming from him, but when you see pictures of these tanks (fish factory) and learn some of the details on the species it's an eyeopener.

Overall he has been playing condescending fake-lawyer/"I am the child support expert here" this whole time. He's been working for the FOC for 10+ years and goes to the annual Christmas dinners and functions with all of these referees, lawyers and judges in attendance. He was once employee of the month. When I told him I was going to use my portion of the tax return I managed to wrangle fro him to hire a lawyer he laughed and said I was wasting my money. That all I had to do was refer to the online child support calculators and simply have an attorney review the paperwork he drew up for me to sign. RIGHT. So this is what I am dealing with and I want to present this right. I agreed to $500 a month temporary support which he surprising agreed to without a fight so I could get out of the fish house with the kids. I will be making about $16K gross this year. Last year (I was pregnant and made only $5K). I suspect there is someone else, but can't prove it right now. He is very quiet and secretive and, as you can see, plotting in his current form. He says the fish barely pay for themselves between the DTE bill and food he feeds them. I appreciate any insight and advice. My apologies for the epic post.


Edited by Mags2010 (08/29/16 10:36 PM)

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#772443 - 08/30/16 12:36 AM Re: Good Enough Proof of Side Income? [Re: Mags2010]
TJMH Offline

enthusiast

Registered: 07/17/15
Posts: 338
Is he reporting his hobby income to the IRS? If it's listed on his tax return it seems like it would be a slam dunk to have it included in CS calculations. If it's not then he has a tax problem.

In any case unless you think he's pulling in substantial additional income (after expenses) this is probably not one of the top five things you should be fighting about.

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#772444 - 08/30/16 11:56 AM Re: Good Enough Proof of Side Income? [Re: TJMH]
Mags2010 Offline

recently joined

Registered: 08/29/16
Posts: 2
No, he is not reporting this income to the IRS. I did mention that. He presents it as a hobby, but it is more like a side business with a lot of cash transactions in addition to checks he receives from auctions held throughout the year. He actively posts sale ads online.

Was concerned that if it's mostly cash it won't be worth proving. Based on his "inventory" these fish produce thousands of babies a year. The house looks like a pet shop full of aquariums.There are at least 50.


Edited by Mags2010 (08/30/16 12:00 PM)

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#772445 - 08/30/16 08:50 PM Re: Good Enough Proof of Side Income? [Re: Mags2010]
TJMH Offline

enthusiast

Registered: 07/17/15
Posts: 338
Even if it's a hobby if he's bringing in income from it he's supposed to report it to the IRS. He can deduct expenses from the hobby up to the amount he brings in from it.

But unless you think he's netting (so to speak) a good deal of money after expenses the income from the fish business probably won't be enough to move the needle on child support or alimony. Given your overall situation it doesn't sound like an issue worth putting a lot of energy into.

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#772446 - 08/30/16 10:06 PM Re: Good Enough Proof of Side Income? [Re: TJMH]
MinnesotaMom Offline

old hand

Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 770
There are many deductible expenses in a business like his, including all the fish tanks, electricity, home space deduction, ect. If you were to prove he was making money, the IRS would want to back at least 6 years, and if there are taxes to be paid, they would also go after you. I wouldn't touch the fish with a 10 foot net!

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