Tonight’s Post, Divorce: Creating a Financial Snapshot, is written by our lead Lawrenceville attorney, John P. Smith.
Once an individual has decided to dissolve their marriage, it is prudent to create and document a “snapshot” of the current financial situation. Understanding the overall marital assets and debts going into a divorce can make an already difficult process smoother and more efficient. Gather as much information as possible: location of all accounts, account numbers, balances, recent statements; keep this information in a secure place and provide it to your attorney.
During divorce litigation you (and your spouse) will be required to complete and file with the Court a “Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit.” This a written summary, a “financial snapshot”. It should be prepared with care and attention to detail as it is the Court’s “blueprint” to each party’s income, assets, debts and monthly expenses.
Expense figures are generally derived from historical spending of the parties. Monthly income figures are derived from pay stubs, tax returns, investment income, dividends, etc. Every document that reflects money coming to one party or the other is important to retain or obtain to get the most accurate figure possible.
Alimony and child support payments are based on income of both parties. Having a complete picture of everyone’s income will go a long way to assure that there will be a fair award of support.
If there is a lack of current information on the income of a party, the law allows that an income figure may be “imputed” to the party. “Imputed” income can be derived from prior employment. For example, if a party to a divorce had worked as a computer technician for 15 years prior to the divorce and made an average of $5,000.00 per month, but inexplicably right after the matter was filed began to work at a fast food restaurant for $500.00 per month, a Court could impute his monthly income at the higher amount because that is what he has historically been able to earn. There are always exceptions and these matter should be thoroughly discussed with your attorney in the early stages of the case.
Besides income, the other major aspects of the financial affidavit take the rest of the information of that “snapshot” you have already accumulated and put it into a written summary of assets and debts/monthly expenses.
Your attorney will guide and work with you in constructing a solid document that you and the Court can rely on for settlement and litigation purposes. At all the Manely Firm’s offices, including in the Lawrenceville/Gwinnett area, our litigation teams take great care in making sure we maximize our Client’s financial position as well as all other aspects affecting them during the dissolution of their marriage.
John P. Smith