Preparing for the Financial Affidavit Process
If you find yourself headed into family court as a party in a divorce, paternity or parentage case, you’re probably feeling a mix of overwhelming emotions.
You should also be prepared for what could be a lengthy process, one filled with court appearances, tense negotiations and arduous paperwork. At the beginning of your case, one of the documents you’ll be required by the court to submit is called a Financial Affidavit.
What is a Financial Affidavit?
A Financial Affidavit is a formal declaration of your income and debts – a process that varies by state. It reveals to the judge hearing your case everything about your financial situation to be weighed as part of your argument.
In addition to completing the extensive Financial Affidavit form, you’ll also have to collect and submit a number of financial documents as backup to what you put in the affidavit.
Completing the Financial Affidavit form
The Illinois Financial Affidavit form looks similar to other financial documents you may have completed in the past, such as for a mortgage application and, most commonly, your taxes. The nine-page document starts by asking you about your employment, income and tax filings.
Other detailed information required on the Financial Affidavit form:
- Credit card debts, bankruptcies
- Monthly deductions: Federal and state taxes, FICA/Social Security, union dues, health insurance premiums, student loans, medical expenses, child support and more
- Monthly living expenses: Detailed household expenses and transportation costs, personal expenses
- Dependent expenses: Clothing, food, medical expenses, allowance, child care, vacation
- Assets: Cash, certificates of deposit, investments, mutual funds, real estate, motor vehicles, retirement benefits, valuable collections, health insurance
Other documents you’ll need to file
On the Financial Affidavit form, you’ll be required to list your income and assets. However, you’ll also have to prove some of this information by providing official documents.
The financial affidavit process requires you to submit the most recent copies of at least the following documents:
- Income tax returns
- Pay stubs and other proof of income
- Bank statements
- Other documents and statements supporting your assets
It’s important to be honest
Collecting all this information and revealing it to your attorney, the court, and the other party in your case can be overwhelming, annoying and even embarrassing. You may go through the process reluctantly and even consider holding back information.
No matter how you feel, it’s important to be completely forthcoming when filing your Financial Affidavit. Your attorney will assist you, and should answer any questions you have that you understand the process.
Don’t forget—the other party in your case must also file a Financial Affidavit and you’re hoping they’ll be completely honest, too.
Don’t wait until the last minute
Once you’re in the midst of family court proceedings, you’ll be dealing with a mix of emotional turmoil and logistic tasks. The financial affidavit process is just one of the issues you’ll need to face.
Take the time to collect the financial information you’ll need to file as soon as possible. Your first step will be to figure out how to access the information and documents you need. You might need to dig through paper files or access online documents, recalling web address, logins and passwords.
Understand your financial life, wherever you are
Learning about Financial Affidavits required for family court and being prepared to present your documents is critical to your case. However, because this type of information is required during other life events, it’s a good idea to keep it handy.
Taking control of your financial information gives you the confidence to manage your money and understand your economic position. Many people gather and evaluate this information before deciding to go ahead with a divorce or parentage case, so they have a clear view of their financial reality.
If you have additional questions regarding divorce or the Financial Affidavit Process, contact the Family Law Attorneys at Sterk Family Law to get started.
This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.