In the case of McClanahan v. McClanahan, 14-0670 (La. 5th Cir. 3/25/15), 169 So. 3d 587, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that the Trial Court did not err when finding that the husband had sufficient income to pay both child and periodic spousal support as ordered by the Trial Court.
In this particular case, the husband apparently had many complicated transactions among and between his various companies and himself. In addition, the husband had produced and/or provided inadequate documentation of his income.
The Court of Appeal noted that the husband’s alleged salary of $60,000 per year was inconsistent with his standard of living, and that the Trial Court had the right to consider evidence of the husband’s standard of living when his claimed income was inconsistent with his lifestyle.
There are many times when we face opposing parties who either do not produce documents; “take cash under the table;” or in some other manner enjoy a standard of living far removed from their claimed salary.
If you face such an obstacle, use the McClanahan case in support of the court’s right to render a more subjective opinion as to the individual’s income and, thus, his/her obligation to pay child support or spousal support.
Written by: Steven Lane, Family Law Committee Chair