Both parties in a domestic relation proceeding are required under local court rules to complete what is commonly referred to as a Financial Disclosure Statement. Though the title of the document differs slightly depending on the county of the pending matter, the disclosure statements essentially request that the parties provide a breakdown of their income and monthly expenses, as well as a list of their assets and liabilities.
A common problem that arises in filling out the monthly expenses portion of the disclosure is how to come up with the figures for each category of expense. One method is to first assess the kind of expense first. If the particular type of expense is a regular and ongoing expense, you should state how much you typically pay per month for that expense based on past monthly invoices or bills. If the particular type of expense is an uncommon or sporadic expense, you should figure out how much you spend on that expense on a yearly basis to get a monthly average. For example, under the section of the disclosure regarding transportation expenses, the form requires you to break down expenses for gasoline as well as for repairs and maintenance. Here, you could refer to your receipts or credit card statements to easily determine how much you spend per month on gas only. However, to figure out your monthly expense for repairs and maintenance, you could add up periodic expenses such as oil changes over a year and divide by twelve to get a monthly average.
Though the process of completing a financial disclosure statement may take a great amount of time and seem tedious, it is important to be as accurate as possible with the information you provide as such statements routinely provide the court, as well as the opposing sides, a snapshot of the parties’ respective and collective finances. This is why your attorney may review your responses and go through the figures with you or ask you follow-up questions to determine how you reached certain numbers. Further, as the parties’ financial situation may change throughout the proceedings, you may be asked to update your financial disclosure statement if there are significant changes to your income, expenses, assets, or liabilities.