The Financial Statements That You Must File
Along with your Petition for divorce or your Answer to the Petition, must always be filed detailed financial statements. Financial Statements are also needed in Paternity suits and in Motions to Modify.
The information in these is necessary to determine child support, and in the case of a divorce, it is needed to determine how to divide the assets, the debts, the home, the cars, the stocks, and the pension, and support any claim for maintenance.
Preparing the Financial Statement is a long process of compiling accurate financial information regarding property, financial accounts, stock values, loan amounts, credit card debt, and anticipated living expenses of after the divorce and accurate income information. For this reason it begins as soon as you retain your attorney.
A good paralegal is invaluable in helping the new client gather and present all of this information. It’s not unusual for this process to take weeks. When the paralegal and the client have finished drafting the financial statements, the lawyer reviews them carefully. If they don’t make sense, if they look incomplete, if expenses wildly exceed income, or don’t make sense to a reasonable person, then the firm and the client review them again. You don’t want to swear to any information which will never be believed by the court.
Estimated expenses that you will have after the divorce, become crucial down the road if the issue of maintenance will be decided in the case. maintenance will only be awarded if one spouse cannot meet their own reasonable expenses and the other spouse will have enough income and resources to meet their expenses and have money left over to help with the expenses of the other spouse. Judges and opposing counsel will look at your claimed expenses carefully. Exaggerated expenses will put off a judge. Expenses that are reported too low will leave a client without enough money to live on later. Your lawyer needs experience to know what will be seen as truthful and reasonable. You don’t learn this in a law book.