One of the biggest concerns in family court is the creation of a financial statement (or in New Hampshire, a financial affidavit). I see clients stress day after day about the information to include, the necessary documents and the mandated disclosure.
Here are some tips for preparing to complete the form and arming yourself with the information necessary to be accurate:
- Gather the documents: Before getting started, gather your bank statements, tax return, pay stub, mortgage statement, credit card statements, retirement/401K statements, etc. Not only will it help you to have this all in one place, but you can refer back easily if your attorney has questions.
- Qualify items that aren’t absolute: If you have the ability to obtain a “real” value for an item, do it. Get a blue book value of your car or motor cycle. Request the balance of your mortgage. If you are forced to estimate the value of an asset, qualify for the reader that this is an estimate and/or how you arrived at the listed value (“*estimate obtained from last assessment”)
- Be complete: Don’t leave anything off of the statement. If you own property jointly with your new spouse, include it. If you have an interest in your mother’s home, include it. If there is a future interest in your uncle’s retirement account. If you aren’t sure about anything, talk it over with your attorney.
- Correct Errors: If you later find that there was an error, bring this up right away and make your best efforts to correct it.
Don’t let the completion of this form overwhelm you. Don’t spend hours and hours. Follow these simple steps to working on the document and make sure that it is correct. This will help to avoid issues later if the opposing party then notices the discrepancies in your statement/affidavit.
Though the financial statement/affidavit is not terribly complicated, it is rather important and it will carry through the process. Contact me to help with our divorce – and your financial statement/affidavit – for professional, legal guidance at (603) 373-0545 or (978) 225-0661.