Divorce can be an exhausting, emotional process. There are many things to consider, particularly in the area of property division. In all contested divorces (and a number of uncontested) divorces, couples are required to complete a financial affidavit formally detailing their income, expenses, assets, debts or liabilities to inform the court in the matter of property division.
While the task of filling out an financial affidavit can be daunting, it is very important to get it right. The courts will use your affidavit to determine alimony, child support, and the division of property. Accurate information is key.
Your divorce attorney will provide you with the proper forms and basic guidance, but you will have to compile a list of your expenses obtained from bank & credit card statements and other sources to provide an accurate representation of what you spend on items such as clothing, medical care, groceries, gas – everything. Detailing recurring and ordinary expenses as well as unusual and non-recurring expenses will provide the courts with a picture of your financial situation.
You and your spouse are required by law to disclose true and correct information to the best of your knowledge and belief. Anyone who submits false information on a Financial Affidavit can be held in contempt of court and can face additional sanctions, including possible criminal charges so there is little room for fudging. If your circumstances change or you discover assets or expenses you neglected to include, a financial affidavit can be revised after the filing if necessary.
Remember the information you include in your Financial Affidavit will be used to determine child support, alimony and the division of your assets so errors or omissions can have a significant impact on the financial outcome of your divorce. Taking the time to thoroughly document your finances is well worth the effort.
If you are considering divorce and would like more information, please contact the Law Offices of Schlesinger & Strauss, LLC.
Source: forbes.com, “The Five Key Points Divorcing Women Need to Know About Financial Affidavits”, by Jeff Landers, accessed November 7, 2014.