Financial Affidavits with Carole Orland

The Financial Affidavit is one of the most critical pieces of paper you will need in your divorce. So many people run the other way when attorneys start referencing it. But it’s really quite simple: It’s a statement of income, expenses, assets and liabilities. It’s your entire financial snapshot on one document.

The court will issue you a form, or an attorney will have a version that works. This is one of the first things an attorney should hand you and it should be done soon after filing. You’ll want to exchange this information early on so you have time to fill in blanks and track down expenditures.

You do not need a Certified Financial Analyst to do this for you. Even if you’ve never kept a budget before, you can set up a simple Excel Worksheet and categorize things by key areas: bills, taxes, health, etc. If you don’t know an exact number, it’s worth estimating. Most credit card statements and utilities are detailed on line, and you probably have a good handle on what you spend for your hair every year. If you don’t have access to records that your ex keeps, you can simply note that on the financial affidavit: “Wife doesn’t have access to investment account”. Your payout can be based on this, so more information is better than less.

We have heard strategies about increasing your spending or “fluffing” up prior to settlement so that you can get a higher payout. Don’t do it. Everyone is entitled to discovery, and you’ll just shoot your credibility for the entire process if you get caught. If there’s not enough money to go around now that you have two households, you’ll need to start cutting back. A competent attorney can argue that you’ve made accommodations but it’s time to accept reality.

We will give you another reason to avoid going into court: every time you do, the financial affidavit needs to be updated to within the last 30 days. So, start keeping track now and get disciplined. It will save you time and energy later.

About the Author Barb & Jo

Through the process of our own divorces, Barb Hazelton and Jo Briggs learned more than they ever needed or wanted to know. Through their friendship, shared experiences, and connections through navigating their own divorces, they created this video series. They've been where you are and they hope Single Process can make it easier for you by connecting you to their resources.