Overview of the Financial Affidavit

A financial affidavit is a legal document which details the financial “life” of the marriage. In a marriage, just like in every business, no matter how large or small, there are assets, expenses, and debts.

One section of the financial affidavit requires each party (“the Affiant”) to list the household expenses, such as rent, mortgage, utilities, homeowner’s fees, routine repairs, insurance, landscaping, etc. In addition to the section on household expenses, it is common to have a section for individual expenses, such as clothing, personal grooming, medical, contact lenses, therapy, etc. Most states require that the expenses be averaged over a period of twelve months, so that a large electric bill in the summer will not be considered as a baseline expense.

Also, similar to any business, there is usually some debt. During most marriage, couples acquire liabilities, such as mortgages, home equity loans, car loans, credit cards, IRS , etc. All debts must be listed in a designated space.

The third section in the financial affidavit or DRFA is the space to list all the assets acquired during the marriage. Assets include retirement, investments, real estate, jewelry, automobiles, antiques, art, etc.

Most states will require each party to complete a financial affidavit in contested cases. However, as long as the required information is provided, the format may vary among attorneys. In divorces with minor children, there is generally a separate section for children’s expenses, such as extra-curricular activities, summer camp, day care, medical and dental expenses, etc. At the end of the Financial Affidavit the Affiant must swear that all information contained in the document is true and correct.

Why is a Financial Affidavit So Important?

If your divorce is contested, a judge will hear the case. The judge will determine both temporary and permanent alimony and child support, and the division of property and debt. Therefore it is critical that all data in your Affidavit be as accurate as possible on the date it is signed. Keep in mind that if you complete a financial affidavit at the beginning of your case and your financial situation changes, you should prepare an updated Financial Affidavit. If you and your spouse are negotiating a settlement or participate in mediation with the expectation of resolving your divorce, your Financial Affidavit is crucial. The data in your financial affidavit becomes the “baseline” for settlement.

Your financial affidavit is the “snapshot” of your marital financial life, and it is essential that it be a true reflection of your finances as they exist and not as you would like them to be.

Do you have legal questions? We’re here to help your family. Call us at 770-333-1620.

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