In any domestic case in which divorce, alimony, or child support is involved, each party is required to complete a financial affidavit which provides an economic “snapshot” of their present income, expenses, liabilities, and assets. In Fulton County Family Division cases, this affidavit needs to be provided to the other party on or before the Thirty Day Status Conference.
How important is this financial affidavit? Extremely important because, often times, it will be the Court’s first consideration of that party’s credibility and knowledge of the situation. If a financial affidavit is thrown together at the last minute, the Judge will know it, and will give it less consideration than a party who puts time into putting together an accurate representation of the his/her economic situation. After all, you want the Judge to believe you – so it doesn’t make any sense to give the Judge a reason not to do so.
In addition, the financial affidavit will serve as the initial basis in determining what support (spousal or child) is to be paid or received. If the amounts listed in the financial affidavit are exaggerated, incorrect, or simply unbelievable, the Court is less likely to grant you the requested relief.
There are ways to make your financial affidavit as credible as possible. For example, the appearance of your financial affidavit should be as neat as possible. Affidavits that are handwritten connote that they were completed in a rush and have a greater chance of mathematical errors. Would you appreciate your tax return being returned to you from your C.P.A. in his handwriting, or would expect it to be printed from a computer program? Another way to impress the Judge is to use actual numbers, rather than estimates, when possible. If your mortgage payment is $1,305.13, then you should list $1,305.13 and not round down to $1,300.00. A party needs to be able to justify every figure that is contained on their financial affidavit!
Generally, a Judge will think that if a party puts time into preparing an accurate financial affidavit, then the Judge will take the time to review it.