Preparing Your Financial Statement
The financial statement is the foundation for property division and must be filled out as accurate as possible. The financial statement is what the court will use to determine child support and alimony, if applicable to your case. The statement includes four basic sections, (1) income; (2) expenses; (3) assets; and (4) liabilities, whether long form or short form. The income section sets forth all of your income from all sources. Additionally, you must report the prior year’s gross annual income on the financial statement, and attach supporting tax forms regarding the same (such as W-2 and 1099). The weekly expenses section of your financial statement should reflect all your living expenses and deductions. It is critical that you carefully review all of your finances to include a realistic picture of your expenditures, even if your expenses exceed the income you earn. In completing the assets section of the financial statement, you should be very careful to make sure that you include all assets of any kind in which you have an interest, as well as assets which are held in your name for the benefit of another. Failure to disclose an interest in an asset could damage your credibility in the eyes of the judge.
It is important to understand that as long as there are financial issues in your case (such as support, assets and debt) updated financial statements must be filed and served every time you appear before the court regarding any financial matter. The reason for the need of an updated financial statement is to show the current status of assets, liabilities and current income and expenses of each of the spouses in the case. Such information, keeps the judge engaged and informed in the lives of the parties.