The Most Important Document in Your Divorce- the Financial Affidavit

The ultimate question in most divorces is “How Much?”. How much am I going to get in child support? How much am I going to pay in alimony? How much of my 401k am I going to lose? While behavior during the marriage can be considered by the Judge in determining property division and in terms of alimony, the Court largely looks to each party’s finances in regard to these issues.

Each party is required to prepare a “Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit”, commonly shortened to DRFA. I like to call it a Marital Balance Sheet, because that is what a DRFA really is, an accounting of assets, liabilities, and cash flow. Judges rely on these affidavits, which are given under oath, in making their decisions. The better and more complete your affidavit is the more a judge will rely upon it in making a decision. I am always surprised when lawyers submit hand written financial affidavits prepared by their clients which are sloppy and incomplete. It is a good lawyers’ job to make sure the affidavit is first of all accurate, and second of all, complete. If you do not do the math correctly you may show more disposable income than you really have, which could make the judge grant less alimony or divide property is an unfavorable manner. If your affidavit is greedy and unreasonable, the judge may treat the rest of your testimony as if you are a liar. It’s that important.

The best way to do a good job on your financial affidavit is to go through your checking account and average ALL of your expenses. That way if the other lawyer questions where you got your figures, you can say my checking statements!!! Look yourself!!! A good lawyer will know how to craft your affidavit to maximize your interests, while assuring that it is accurate. When it comes to assets and debts, give your lawyer the last statements on all 401k’s or other financial accounts, as well as the last bill for all debt. Give your lawyer several months of paystubs to show your income. That way when the judge has your affidavit, then you submit all of your documents proving up your affidavit, the Judge will find your affidavit reliable and hopefully follow your recommended solution.

Here is a blank financial affidavit for your case.