In most cases involving child support, both parents need to complete a detailed form called a financial affidavit. The form is the same for both parents whether you are the one paying child support or receiving it. The purpose of a financial affidavit is so the court can understand your family's finances in order to determine the appropriate amount of child support. Preparing a financial affidavit can be time consuming, but overall the procedure is relatively simple.
Types of Financial Affidavits
Each state has its own form that is required when dealing with child support cases. In fact, some states have both short forms and long forms available depending upon the complexity of your case. States also differ in what they call the form. For example, in New Jersey it is called a Case Information Statement and in New York it is called a Financial Disclosure Affidavit. Although the name of the form may be different in each state, the information required in order to complete it is generally the same.
Most financial affidavits will require you to complete personal information sections. These sections will require the names and ages of your children, as well as any from other relationships. Most states will require you to provide information about your current employer and perhaps your past employers. Some states may require you to explain your educational background and work skills.
Helpful Documents When Completing a Financial Affidavit
When filling out your financial affidavit, there will be some documents that will be helpful to you. You may want to have your checkbook nearby since you will be required to list your account balances and numbers. You should also be prepared with your utility bills, retirement account statement and life insurance policy. Some states even require you to attach certain documents to your affidavit.
Completing the Income Section of a Financial Affidavit
One of the most important parts of a financial affidavit is the income section. Almost all states require that the parties include proof of their income, including recent pay stubs and tax returns. If you are self-employed, you will be required to provide your business tax returns and any other proof of your income. If you are unemployed, you will need to provide copies of your state unemployment checks.
Assets and Debts on a Financial Affidavit
You will be required to list all of your assets and debts on your affidavit. Assets include checking and savings accounts, money markets, IRAs and brokerage accounts. Assets also include art or jewelry, real estate and vehicles. Debts include credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, automobile loans and student loans. You will need to provide current balances for all of your financial accounts and the current value for your assets. If you have retirement accounts or insurance policies, such as life insurance or health insurance policies, you will also need to include this information in the assets and debts section.
Monthly Living Expenses
Most affidavits require you to list your monthly expenses. This can be the most challenging part of the form to complete. Monthly expenses include your fixed expenses such as your mortgage or rent and car payment, as well as fluctuating expenses like food and entertainment. It is a good idea to review your bank statement to determine just how much you spend on various things each month. If you are the parent requesting child support, you should be sure to include expenses that you incur while caring for your children, such as daycare or babysitters and school lunches.
Because a financial affidavit is to assist the court in determining child support, you will need to provide a lot of information regarding your children. All natural or adopted children should be included. You will need to explain where the children live, whether they work and whether they attend college. Also, if any children have special needs you should indicate this on the form. Most forms require you to explain how the children's health insurance is paid and whether there is any life insurance or trusts that benefit them. If you have a child from another relationship, you should include their information but be sure to indicate that they are not children of the current relationship.
Many financial affidavits will have a section at the end where you can explain any other information that was not specifically asked. For example, if you are receiving or paying alimony, you should let the court know. Also, if you expect your income or expenses to change soon, you should write this in your affidavit. This could be if you anticipate a large inheritance or if you know your home is in foreclosure. If your state's financial affidavit does not have this special section, you can always attach a separate sheet of paper with this information.