Usually, a person’s financial information such as assets, income, expenses, debt, and liabilities can be known using different kinds of documents. However, using a financial affidavit is the most formal and legally acceptable method.
A financial affidavit is a sworn document that paints a complete picture of someone’s financial situation.
This document is always at the heart of most court cases, such as child support, post-separation, and alimony, among others. All financial affidavits are not similar they require various contrasting details depending upon the situation it will be used for.
Depending on the state or region you are from, a financial affidavit may have different reference names as;
- Financial statement affidavit
- Financial affidavit for support
- Confidential financial affidavit
- Family law financial affidavit
- Affidavit of financial information
- Financial disclosure affidavit
Many times, the court will rely on the information provided on the affidavits to make various decisions such as child support, alimony, separation of assets in case of a divorce to mention a few. At the same time, the affidavits can be used to determine whether you are eligible for a free legal representation on criminal proceedings, or whether your court fees, such as filing fees, transcript fees can be waived.
The main purpose of a financial affidavit is to testify to an individual’s financial information at that particular time. Another noteworthy purpose of these affidavits is that they provide an overview of one’s financial situation in a courtroom.
Some of the common types of information that an affidavit may seek to answer may include:
- How much money you make
- Do you have any assets
- Do you have any other additional resources
- What are your lists of expenses
- Do you have any debts
- Are you responsible for receiving or paying child support services
While some of this information may be figured out on a weekly basis, others can be reviewed on a monthly basis.
The Procedure of Filing a Financial Affidavit
For you to fill and file a financial affidavit properly, there is a specific procedure you will have to follow. This will imply to all persons, whether you have a low income or high. If you are planning to have your affidavits filled any time soon, you must follow some guidelines.
Here are some useful guidelines;
Get a financial affidavit from the judicial branch
First, you will need to get an affidavit form from the judiciary office within your jurisdiction. Either you can choose to get digital forms from the official website of the judiciary, or you can simply get a printed copy. If you intend to fill the forms by hand, you should make at least three copies. One can be used for sketch or practice.
Fill out major instructions
Once you have the right copy of the affidavit, you need to fill in the necessary information.
Be keen to fill in the spaces appropriately. Also, the information provided should be able to reflect your true financial position to the best of your knowledge. Some of the basic information you must include the docket number, judicial district, name of your case, and the address of your address. Also, don’t forget to mention your official name under the “Name of Affiant.”
Gather essential documents
For a financial affidavit, a person must provide some essential documents as proof of evidence. these documents include pay stubs, checkbook, bank account statements, recent bills.
Weekly gross income and its sources
Under this section, you will provide a list of your weekly wages alongside their sources. If you are paid bi-monthly or monthly, make sure you indicate exactly that. Some of the incomes you can include are weekly wages, donations, and gifts, pension, salary, commissions, bonuses, etc.
For you to get an estimate of your weekly income or revenue, here is a formula you can use:
|For those paid:||You will get your weekly gross income by:|
|Bi-weekly (after every other weeks) or 26 paychecks annually||Divide your gross income in one paycheck by two to get the average weekly income.|
|Semi-monthly (twice a month) i.e. 15th and 30th 24 paychecks annually||Multiply your gross pay by two to get monthly income. Then multiply that number by 12 to get yearly income. Divide the yearly income by 52 to get weekly gross income.|
|Monthly 1 paycheck per month||First, multiply your gross income by 12 to get annual gross. Secondly, divide the annual gross by 52 to get weekly gross income|
|Annual payment You get paid once a year||Simply divide the gross amount paid per year by 52 weeks This will give you weekly gross income.|
You will also be required to mention all the deductions drawn from your weekly gross income.
These may include:
- Federal income tax
- State income tax
- Social security
- Health insurances
- Child support
- Union dues
Net weekly income
The net weekly income is the amount you will take home after the deductions have been taken into account. Usually, it is calculated by subtracting the total mandatory deductions from the total gross weekly income.
If the weekly expenses are deducted from the pay, then you will have to first list all the weekly expenses before you subtract them from the gross income to get your net weekly income.
For example, if a utility bill is an expense you may want to account for, you will have to get its weekly value before subtracting it from the weekly gross. If the bill is paid per month, you will multiply it by 12, then divide it by 52, to get weekly expenditure on that particular bill. On the other hand, if the utility bill is paid annually, you will simply divide the annual figure by 52, to get an average weekly expense.
Mention the debts and liabilities
You must mention the debts and liabilities you owe someone on a weekly basis. You can either owe a bank, friend, relative or any other financial institution. Also, don’t forget to mention any overdue items such as medical bills, personal or student loans, credit card debt, unpaid utility bills, and pending taxes.
Declare all the assets
Here, you will note down all the valuable things that you personally own. If you can’t remember the exact value of an asset, you are allowed to guess. But make sure your guess isn’t far off the estimated value.
Some of the assets you can declare may include the following:
- Real estate
- Motor vehicles
- Bank accounts
- Stocks and bonds
- Retirement plans
- Business interests
- Health and other Insurances
- Other valuable items and antiques
Add children’s assets.
If your child/children are under kids’ trust accounts, it will be advisable that you add them to the affidavit form.
Include healthcare cost
If any, you need to add all expenses incurred when getting healthcare services. These will include the cost of medication, drugs, therapy, medical cover, and any other out-of-pocket costs.
Sign the document
Signing the affidavit form is one necessary step while filling the affidavit so do not miss it. However, before you do that, you need to have a notary public witness the proceeding.
Certify by the notary public
Signing the affidavit helps validating that whatever contents are included in the affidavit form is true as per your understanding. Legally. You are expected to append your signature in front of a notary public, lawyer, or court clerk. This is the only way to certify your affidavit form.
Make duplicates of the affidavit
Before you call it a done deal, remember to make three duplicate copies. One for your own records, the second for court proceedings, and the third one for the lawyer.
Common Situations Requiring a Financial Affidavit
Generally, financial affidavits are used for several legal proceedings that need financial input for determination. On many occasions, however, you will find these documents used in cases such as family issues, legal aids, and bankruptcy.
Generally, it’s hard to mention family issues in courts without thinking of financial affidavits. This one thing every family attorney will tell you. Whether you are handling a divorce, seeking child support, or property division, you will definitely need a financial affidavit. The courts often rely on the information on the affidavit to determine the degree of financial responsibility or reach an appropriate property/assets division.
Legally, every person is often entitled to legal representation. This is true for both those individuals who can afford the representation and those who can’t. If you happen to fall under the latter, you will have to prove your financial capability by use of a financial affidavit. Note that the state or county under jurisdiction will always pay for legal aids for persons who can’t afford it.
Before one is declared bankrupt by the court of law, they will have to produce their financial affidavits. Usually, courts do review the assets, debts, income, and expenses to reach this decision.
Consequences of Not Having a Financial Affidavit
The courts are always interested in financial affidavits when handling cases that require an individual’s financial disclosure. If requested, you need to provide it in a prompt manner. Failure to produce may lead to the following:
Failure to produce the affidavits when requested can make the courts falsify your financial status. Plus, if the courts require information on how much you owe child support, then failure to provide legitimate information in your affidavit could lead to the finding of court contempt, which is punishable by law.
Without a financial affidavit in place, a person may be blocked and not be able to get certain services.
What to Do if Filing Fees are not Affordable?
There are some situations where one is in dire need of filing a lawsuit but can’t because of financial constraints. This shouldn’t shut down your hopes. You can still file an in forma pauperis. This means that you aren’t able to pay for attorney fees or the cost of hiring a legal expert. Therefore, the court will review your case and determine whether you qualify for government assistance.
If you are planning to file a financial affidavit any time soon, we are here to help you. You can download our free templates and get going. Our templates are user-friendly and easy to customize according to your preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
I can’t afford the case filing fee to take someone to small claims court. What should I do?
Every state or county does have its own guideline for assessing financial assistance. That’s said, you need to consult with your state’s website to get the true information. While doing your search, you can check on the in forma pauperis version of the state you come from.
I have criminal charges. How do I get an attorney?
Getting an attorney does differ from state to state. Nonetheless, if you want an attorney at a low fee, you must first adhere to the state’s guidelines. One possible question the courts will ask you is your financial situation.
If I’m required by the courts to fill out a financial affidavit, do I have to be completely truthful about everything I won?
You are expected to be truthful when declaring your assets. If you lie or fail to provide correct information, you may face other legal consequences, including perjury charges.
Financial affidavits are important financial documents that are necessary for certain court proceedings. If requested to produce, it’s important that you owner such requests. Otherwise, you risk facing other consequences such as failure to get services or incorrect assumptions of your financial status.