Being able to accurately estimate your monthly expenses is essential in the divorce situation and in dividing marital property. The amount of child and spousal support (maintenance or alimony), as well as preparing a post-divorce budget, are impacted by your ability to accurately gauge how much you have typically spent on various budget items, as well as what you anticipate spending on those items in the future.
We recommend that you review your checkbook (including amounts taken out as cash for out-of-pocket expenses), as well as credit card statements, in order to ascertain an “average” monthly expense for each budget item.
Although some costs vary throughout the year (i.e. utility bills), or are paid on one lump sum semi-annually (i.e. auto insurance), it is helpful to calculate the annual cost by dividing it by twelve, for an “average monthly expense”. And, don’t forget to include any expense for taxes that are due at the end of the year!
You will be required to complete a financial disclosure statement in any family law matter involving money. This statement is called an Affidavit with Respect to Financial Affairs. On it, you will need to list all of your expenses, broken down on a monthly basis.
The “Financial Affidavit” is one of the most important documents that you will need to present to the Court in your case. You should invest the time and energy to make sure it is done correctly and, where necessary, consult with an attorney to be sure. All too often, people do a poor job on their financial affidavit, and that can be a costly and grievous mistake, as this is the document that the judge will rely on when issuing financial orders in your case.