In any Maryland divorce case, parties are required to file financial statements with the Court. While not everyone is required to file the Long Form Financial Statement, most situations call for the filing of the Long Form because spousal support is typically requested. As such, parties going through a divorce are required to fill out a nine-page document that usually makes their heads spin! Fortunately, there are many tricks that help you complete the financial statement with both ease and accuracy.
The easiest way to identify your monthly expenses is to review bank and credit card statements going back the prior twelve months. While some expenses stay fairly similar month by month, such as rent, automobile payments, and health insurance, most expenses can fluctuate on a monthly basis. For example, people typically take vacations in the summer, so you may spend money in August for an expensive beach vacation, but by simply looking at your credit card bill in March, you will not obtain the proper assessment for how much money you should allocate for vacations over a year-long period.
If you need a family law lawyer in Montgomery County, contact Andalman & Flynn for a consultation.
Helpful Tips to Consider
Keep the following tips in mind when filling out the Long Form Financial Statement:
- Make sure you only state current expenses, not expenses that you’ve incurred in the past but will not incur in the future. For example, if you were just notified that your cell phone bill will go up by $10 per month, make sure you use that as your monthly expense and not the payment required on your most recent bill. Likewise, if you just paid off your car loan, you cannot list the monthly car payment that you were paying each of the last twelve months.
- If you are paid bi-weekly and use your most recent pay stub to identify your income and deductions, make sure you multiply the income or deduction on your pay stub by 26 and divide by 12 to get your monthly totals. For instance, if John Smith earns $2,000.00 in gross income biweekly (every two weeks), his monthly gross income is $4,333.33 ($2,000 times 26, divided by 12).
- When listing credit card monthly expenses, make sure you do not double count expenses that you pay on your credit card by also listing your monthly credit card payments. For example, if you use your credit card to pay your phone bill, you should not state that you pay $50 per month for your phone bill and that you have a monthly credit card payment of $50 that reflects the phone bill.
- Try creating an excel spreadsheet to keep track of your monthly expenses, so that you or your attorney can easily find support for the expenses listed on your Financial Statement. For example:
|Expense||Monthly Statement Amount||Total Amount for 12 Months|
Financial Statements can be very time-consuming and difficult to fill out. As such, we recommend that parties get started on their financial statements immediately. Financial Statements are important tools that let the Court know your true financial status, so it is extremely important to focus on completing them as completely and accurately as possible. For guidance please refer to our resource: Financial Statement – Monthly Expenses.
Family Law Lawyers in Maryland
At the law firm of Andalman & Flynn, we always impress upon our clients the idea that divorce is as much a new beginning as it is an ending. Hiring the right family law attorney to represent your best interests in your divorce is essential to ensuring you will have the freedom, happiness, and financial independence you deserve in your new life.
If you need representation for your family law case in Maryland or would like assistance completing your financial form, please contact our family law attorneys or call 301-563-6685 to set up an initial consultation.