Updated: Aug 31, 2019
One of the most often asked questions by individuals filing for a divorce is; "Why do I have to submit a Financial Affidavit"? The only divorce that does not require the parties to file financial information is a "Simple Divorce". Simple divorces require that there be no minor children and both parties must attend the final hearing together. All other divorces require a Financial Affidavit with few exceptions.
Providing an attorney, mediator or document company with accurate financial information is the most basic step in guaranteeing that your divorce documents will state exactly what the parties have agreed to. This information is used to calculate Child Support, Alimony, and Equitable Distribution of Property. All of this information ends up in a Marital Settlement Agreement.
Financial Affidavits prepared for a divorce are different than those you might use in obtaining a bank loan. Actual calculation based on your gross earnings are used, not those that your employer might use based on your W4 form. Deductions that may be allowed by the IRS or bank loan are different then those used in a Financial Affidavit prepared for a divorce in Florida. Florida Courts, Attorney's and Mediators will use specialized software to prepare accurate Financial Affidavits. Document companies generally provide you with a Florida Supreme Court Form for you to fill out. Companies such as the Divorce & Bankruptcy Center who have Mediators on staff will cross check your hand filled out affidavit against a specialized software program so as to produce accurate information for all necessary calculations.
Let me tell you about an actual situation which happened a few months ago regarding an incorrect financial affidavit. This was a couple with no children but had marital assets. In order to save $200.00, they told the document company that there was no children or marital assets to be divided. The financial affidavit that they prepared on a standard Florida Supreme Court Form supported this claim. Two years later when the Wife was preparing to sell the home which was a marital asset, the real estate agent requested a copy of the Settlement Agreement which transferred the asset to her. She had to hire an attorney to re-open the divorce case, amend the documents and close it again. The cost was substantially more than the $200.00 she saved, and the aggravation that went along with it.
The moral of the story is, provide complete financial information to your attorney, mediator or document company. In the long run you will save time and trouble.