Preparing a Financial Disclosure Statement
When you prepare a financial disclosure statement for court you need to be very careful. On a Financial Disclosure Affidavit for Family Court or a Statement of Net Worth for a divorce action accuracy is very important. You can hurt yourself if you are sloppy and put down inaccurate numbers on any type of financial disclosure statement.
In a recent case the First Department of the Appellate Division imputed income to a husband and found that he was earning more than he reported on his income tax returns. The court based its decision upon the evidence that showed that his total cash expenditures greatly exceeded the total of his cash withdrawals from his bank accounts. (Moldonado v. Moldonado, 2012 N.Y. Slip Op. 07564, Nov. 13, 2012).
If the husband really had this unreported income, then he probably got what he deserved. If he exaggerated his expenses in order to try to lower his child support obligation, then he ended up hurting himself instead. But if he just was sloppy and put inaccurate expense figures on his financial statement, then he did himself a real injustice.
The lesson from all of this is simple. When preparing any financial disclosure statement you should review your bank records and other financial documents. Use your actual bills, receipts and credit card statements. Take a twelve month look at your actual expenses so that you can account for seasonal variations. Seasonal variations affect utilities, food, fuel and many other types of expenses that a one or two month snapshot will not take into account realistically.
The other party is going to scrutinize your financial disclosure statement using your bank records and the other documents that you are required to disclose. The court will do the same. So it makes sense that you should start your preparation of a financial disclosure statement by carefully reviewing your financial records. This will ensure that your financial statement is as accurate as possible. This can have a very significant impact on your case.