Preparing a Financial Affidavit
A financial affidavit is a sworn statement of your income, expenses, assets and liabilities. The Florida Supreme Court has prescribed a form for the affidavit and it is one of the many Supreme Court forms developed for divorce and family law cases. Court rules require both parties to file a financial affidavit in substantial conformity with the form affidavit whenever there are financial issues in the divorce. This requirement cannot be waived by the parties. If you are seeking temporary financial relief you must serve the affidavit on your spouse with the notice of the temporary hearing. Your spouse must serve his financial affidavit on or before 5:00 PM two business days (or seven days provided by mail) for the hearing. The standard family law interrogatories also require you to provide a financial affidavit. In any case, the mandatory disclosure rule requires a financial affidavit to be served within 45 days of the service of the initial pleading on the respondent. The law offices of West Palm Beach divorce attorney, Stephen J. Press will work with you closely in the preparation of your financial affidavit.Supreme Court Form
The Supreme Court form affidavit is of two types. If a party is gross income is under $50,000 he may use the short form affidavit. A long form affidavit must be used if the parties gross income is $50,000 or more. The long form affidavit requires more detail about assets and liabilities. The income and expense sections are the same as in the short form affidavit. The form is divided into sections. Initially, a party lists his employment information. The rate of pay section requires a party to put either a much they make per hour with the amount they receive according to how often they are paid i.e. weekly rate of pay.Income
The initial section of the form is Income. The amounts you state is based upon what you receive on a monthly basis. Thus, if you are paid weekly you must convert it to monthly. If your income fluctuates you can average your income over several months i.e. last year's income to determine an average monthly income. You should not include bonuses unless you are certain you will receive it and can make a safe estimate of the amount. Similarly, if a party earns overtime income on a regular basis the court considered this as part of the average monthly income.Assets
The affidavit requires you to list all assets, even those that are in your spouses. Valuation of assets can be difficult.Your house may not have been appraised for years and an auto to be too old to appear in the "blue book". A privately owned company is often disputed as to it's worth and may require a financial expert to appraise its value. If you are not reasonably sure as to the value of an asset it is not a good idea to guess and its value. It is better to obtain an appraisal to ensure accuracy. It is extremely important that assets are not overlooked as this will make a party lose credibility with the court.Liabilities
These items include all loans, charge accounts and debts of all types. Loans from parents should be listed even if there is no documentation. Although overlooking the debt cannot be as critical as overlooking an asset, it is still good to list all debts as they will be equally divided by the court as part of equitable distribution.Expenses
Your expenses are based upon your actual expense records in your foreseeable future needs. If you are about to move out of the marital home that you can list your expenses in two columns, one for past expenses and the other for foreseeable future needs. A little research into housing costs etc. can be useful in developing foreseeable future needs. Although the expense section is not relevant for child support it is extremely relevant for alimony.
The law offices of West Palm Beach divorce attorney, Stephen J. Press has over four decades of experience representing clients in divorce cases and in the preparation of the family law financial affidavits. Because financial affidavits are so critical in the court's view of the parties financial situation, it is important that you seek counsel from a highly experienced divorce attorney.Summary
It is extremely important to take care in working up your financial affidavit. You can give yourself the benefit of every reasonable doubt, but you should never purposely exaggerate any item. You must be as honest as you can be. Keep in mind that the expenses are really a summary of your reasonable needs if the money was available, taking into consideration your standard of living in the marriage. If you are careful in preparing your affidavit it will help you be prepared to defend your figures.Contact a West Palm Beach divorce attorney
The law offices of West Palm Beach divorce attorney, Stephen J. Press offers a free, confidential conference. Please call us at 561-833-2772 or contact us online.