BFS Explains: The Financial Affidavit
The financial affidavit is a comprehensive form created by the court requiring divorcing couples to fully disclose expenses, assets and debts to assist lawyers and, if needed, the court with resolving temporary issues such as support, attorneys’ fees, injunctive relief and the like during the divorce process. The financial affidavit of each party will be provided to the opposing attorney and the judge, but will not be filed in the court file to protect your privacy.
This is one of the most important documents in your entire case prepared by you with guidance from your attorney. It is vitally important to take the time needed and look at actual expenses incurred regularly as you fill in the form. If necessary, Boyle Feinberg Sharma, P.C. (BFS) can find you individuals who will help you put together your financial affidavit. This is quite a costly endeavor.
Why Do I Need to Complete a Financial Affidavit? No discovery can be issued, nor can you seek support or attorneys’ fees from your spouse until your financial affidavit has been completed. The financial affidavit demonstrates each parties’ income and the expenses and needs of each party and their children. The less accurate a financial affidavit is, the less likely the court will allow what you ask. There are even penalties for gross inaccuracies. The most important concerns of the court are meeting your housing and basic needs each month.
What Information Do I Need and How Do I Gather the Information Necessary? Your income and expenses on the financial affidavit are monthly averages so it may be necessary to look at the entire year of expenses to come up with an accurate average amount. For example, utilities fluctuate depending on the season. You can call your utility companies to get the last years’ expenses. You will need copies of tax returns; checking account records; and credit card statements (year-end summaries are ideal for this purpose). Life insurance policies provide ownership, coverage and cost information. You will need your mortgage statement, which should show the outstanding balance due. All of these documents can be gathered prior to filing for divorce.
Income Information: You can accurately find your income information through the use of pay stubs and income tax returns. These documents will also show the deductions taken from your gross pay, including taxes (federal and state); FICA; Medicaid, HSA deductions and health insurance premiums paid by you or your spouse. The tax returns will show either a payment due or a refund paid or applied. Discuss this with your Boyle Feinberg Sharma, P.C. attorney. This is one reason we ask you to bring in two years of income tax records when we first meet with you. The tax return provides some information about your estate.
We know the financial affidavit requires a lot of information and are here to assist you with any questions along the way. We also have the experience to determine if your expenses appear to be incorrectly reported.