Financial Affidavits in Family Law Cases
In most Family Law actions, each party is required to fill out a Financial Affidavit. This affidavit spells out the parties’ gross income, net income, monthly bills, and assets and debts. Is it of the utmost importance that your Financial Affidavit be as accurate as possible; an inaccurate financial affidavit can diminish your credibility with the Judge, and can also lead to adverse financial consequences.
With regards to income, it is important to list all sources of income you currently receive. These sources can range from a salary from a job, social security benefits, unemployment benefits, and even BAH and BAS for military service members. If you fail to disclose a source of income and that mistake is uncovered by opposing counsel, you run the risk of being cross-examined as to the discrepancy.
Financial Affidavits also require a list of monthly expenditures. The list of possible expenditures is vast – rent or mortgage, food, phone bills, cable, lawn service, car payments, daycare expenses, etc… Essentially, anything you can think of that is a monthly expenditure is something you need to list. It is important to be as accurate as possible with these expenses and not artificially diminish or exaggerate the expense.
Finally, Financial Affidavits also require a list of all assets and debts a party owns or is responsible for. An asset is essentially anything you own of value; common assets include retirement accounts (whether it is a 401k or IRA), stocks, bank accounts, paintings, jewelry, vehicles, real property, and a multitude of other items. Likewise, debts can take many forms. Common debts include mortgages, car loans, credit card balances, and student loans.
A well put-together Financial Affidavit can often mean the difference between winning and losing your case. It is important to choose an attorney who will ensure your Financial Affidavit is airtight and who is detail-oriented enough to spot any potential inconsistencies.