Know Your Divorce Documents: The Financial Affidavit

Know Your Divorce Documents: The Financial Affidavit

The divorce process is generally not a simple one. Not only is the process time-consuming and emotionally draining, but it can require a significant number of documents to be prepared, drafted, and submitted. Your divorce attorney will be in charge of most of the documents that are required and will guide you through the process, but for the best compilation of information to help prepare for your divorce settlement, it is important to understand what the documents are, their format, and the type of information that they provide to the court.

Important Divorce Documents: The Financial Affidavit

The most important financial document that will be drafted in preparation for your settlement is the financial affidavit. The financial affidavit is a legal document required by the court that details the ins and outs of your financial circumstances within your marriage. The factors that are included and weighed in this document are:

  • Your income or stipend;
  • The expenses attributed to your marital home and lifestyle;
  • The assets that were brought into and during the marriage; and
  • The debts that you currently owe (whether accrued before or during the marriage).

Importance of Financial Affidavits

The importance of the financial affidavit is largely to not only understand the daily financial picture of the marriage but also to ensure that both parties are honest about their financial circumstances. Financial affidavits help to root out the spouses who are attempting to hide their assets and create legal consequences for their illegal, financial affirmations.

Use of the Financial Affidavits in Divorce Settlements

The financial affidavits not only give the details as to the financial circumstances of each individual during the marriage but are also crucial in assessing the final divorce settlement, i.e. the spousal maintenance, child support, the equitable division of property, etc. With so much importance weighing heavily on these affidavits, it is important that the information used to prepare these documents is accurate and as close to the figures as possible. A skewing in either direction may be found to be fraudulent or one party may lose more money than required for alimony and child support.

Tips Before Preparing Your Financial Affidavit

For the most accurate write up of your finances, there are certain factors to consider before submitting your financial affidavit, including:

  • The more detailed, the better. Specifics are crucial in a financial affidavit. This is not the place to smudge your details, as the numbers will reflect the inaccuracies. Going through your checkbooks and accounts with a fine-tooth comb is just the first step. Attempt to itemize as much as possible all of your expenses, payments, and debts as accurately as possible as this will all help to determine what your financial circumstance realistically look like.
  • Knowledgeable sources can provide help. A financial advisor may prepare a lifestyle analysis which accurately assesses the day-to-day living expenses of your marriage and the spending habits of both partners. Also, it will help to outline which expenses are one-offs and which are consistent and ordinary.

Two Important Aspects of Financial Affidavits

Finally, there are two important aspects of the financial affidavit that should be understood by each spouse before their submission:

  1. The financial affidavit is executed under oath and generally will be notarized. In other words, innocent white lies still carry significant legal consequences. By attesting to the veracity of the information held within, you are responsible for the information and subject to perjury charges.
  2. The financial affidavit may be revised if there have been significant financial changes to your circumstances, even after it has already been filed with the court. Because the information is crucial to the outcome of a divorce settlement, significant financial changes must be addressed to the court.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Charleston

A financial affidavit is required by courts to best assess the financial circumstances of the marriage before determining the divorce settlement. It is important to prepare your affidavit with a family law attorney from Klok Law Firm LLC. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for a confidential consultation.