In a divorce, modification, paternity, or various other family matters, parties have to complete financial statements for the court. In these financial statements, parties represent what their income is either on a monthly or yearly basis. This financial statement becomes a huge part of the case in most instances.
In terms of calculating child support or spousal support, courts are going to look at the income of the parties. The income of the parties is almost always one of the biggest factors a court will look at in terms of crafting an order on these points. In terms of dividing property and debt as well, courts will often look at the income of the parties as a factor because one party might be able to stomach receiving fewer assets if their income far exceeds the income of the party.
Yet, for some reason, parties going through a family law case often look at financial statements as a burden. Versus taking the time to look at past tax returns, current paycheck stubs, and salary statements, parties far too often opt to guess and give approximations. They look at these forms as a root canal or some other task that they’d rather avoid. So, the philosophy often turns into getting the financial statement done and over with as quickly as possible — and then moving on to more enjoyable tasks. This happens even when the party signs the financial statement in front of a notary, with the penalty of perjury, or with an affirmation on the form that the financial statement is true and accurate to their best information and belief.
The same also rings true with expenses, although this will be for a future article. Versus taking the time to accurately reflect what the expenses of a party are by looking at statements, past bills, and payments, parties often guess or estimate.
Of course, this can cause parties to have adverse results as it relates to the awards on child support, spousal support, or property division. Courts rely heavily on these statements and it is awfully hard to take back what was previously represented to the court. For this reason, it is vital that you are thorough and accurate in completing financial statements to the court. Once submitted, you might be able to make amendments based on legitimate changes after the fact. But it is hard to simply tell the court that what you previously submitted was in error and that it should be disregarded. This is why you have to be thorough and make sure that any financial statement submitted to the court is correct to the best of your information and belief.
If you are facing a divorce or family law case where your income is a relevant issue, you may want to contact the Stange Law Firm, PC. The firm focuses exclusively on family law in the areas of divorce, child custody, and child support. For a free and confidential half-hour consultation with an attorney, call our main office at 314-963-4700 or visit us online at Divorce Attorneys in Lincoln County, Missouri in Troy.