How to Fill Out a Family Law Financial Affidavit
A Family Law Financial Affidavit is a common form used in family law cases; it’s a sworn statement of your financial income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Usually used during divorce cases, both parties must fill out the affidavit and submit it at least two days before a hearing.
It’s crucial that both spouses complete this document honestly. Any false statements, mistakes, or purposeful omissions will be discovered, it’ll slow down the whole process, not to mention it could backfire and result in inconvenient penalties. If you’re seeking financial support from your spouse, you must serve him or her (or his/her attorney) a copy of your affidavit with a notice of hearing on temporary support.
Income and assets can be simple numbers to find and fill in, but things can get a little more difficult as you document your expenses. Past expenses may only reflect what money you and spouse spent together, which isn’t really an accurate representation of what you’d realistically spend as an individual. Future expenses are simply an educated guess. Be prepared with documents to support your numbers, or else you could face cross-examination challenging the affidavit. Interim expenses during the separation and divorce, like moving costs, will make your overall expenses look higher than they actually are on a regular basis, so be sure to consider your financial records (i.e. pay stubs) that go back six months to a year, as opposed to two months, just to be as accurate as possible.
Before you start filling out your Florida Family Law Financial Affidavit, it might be useful to ask yourself a few of these questions.
- Do you receive an annual bonus at work? If that money is guaranteed every year, go ahead and include it in your income statement. But if there’s only a 50% chance you’ll get the bonus, leave it out.
- Do you work a lot of overtime hours? Have you stopped working overtime since filing for divorce? The judge is seeking the most well-rounded vision of your past & future financial patterns, so be honest about this. Overtime doesn’t just affect your bank account. Keep in mind that it also affects the time you have for your children. The judge will pay attention to this too.
- Let’s say your mother or best friend gave you $5,000 this year. What is a gift or a loan? You and your spouse may view that amount differently; you may intend to pay it back, while your spouse believes it was owed to you. Sorting out this dispute early will keep things simple. When in doubt, turn to your past bank statements for support. You can also have your family member put the loan in writing and have it signed & stamped by a notary.
- Is your income consistent, or does it change based on the time of year?
If you’re having trouble doing the math, or run into any questions while you’re completing this form, we suggest discussing it with your attorney.
Have all your records on hand? Ready to fill out and submit your Florida Family Law Financial Affidavit?
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