How to Fill Out a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit
Going through a divorce can be challenging, not just emotionally but mentally. You can become overwhelmed by the daunting legal process and its many procedures and regulations.
At Kessler & Solomiany, LLC, we want to help you streamline the process and reduce your stress by offering helpful advice on how to navigate a divorce. One of the first legal documents you must familiarize yourself with is the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit.
What Is a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit?
A Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit, or DRFA, is a sworn legal statement that lists your assets, monthly income, and expenses. It is one of the first documents couples filing for divorce must complete.
Think of a DRFA as a budget worksheet. You use it to itemize your income and monthly expenses. It also includes a full accounting of your assets and debts, including bank accounts, pensions, real estate holdings, and credit card debt.
Why Do You Need to Complete a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit?
The purpose of a DRFA is to help the court determine the appropriate amount of spousal and child support that needs to be paid following a divorce or custody arrangement. By reviewing the assets, debts, and expenses, a Georgia court can get a better picture of a family’s financial situation. The information will help direct the court on how to divide property and distribute alimony and child support payments.
Filing a DRFA is mandatory. These documents must be submitted to the court and your spouse at least 15 days before your preliminary hearing and at least ten days before a scheduled mediation session.
Filling Out a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit
Filing out a DRFA can be complicated. Before you start, try to gather all your vital financial documents and statements. Having everything in one place can help you stay organized and make filing out the DRFA less stressful.
First, start with the basics. Enter your information, including your name, marital information, children’s names, and information about your employment. The next section of the DRFA will ask for a summary of your income and needs. It may be easier to complete the other sections of the document and come back to the summary at the end. Why? It’s because the calculations you make in other areas of the DRFA can be used to help make filling out the summary less challenging.
Next will be the Gross Monthly Income section of the document. In this area, you will need to account for all sources of income you receive monthly. Your income includes money from employment, pension plans, rental income, overtime pay, severance package payouts, bonuses, disability, dividends, and interest payments. In short, if you receive money, you must account for it.
In the next section, you must list your assets. The accounting of your assets must include both marital property and non-marital property acquired before marriage. Assets are considered anything of value, like cars, real estate, bank accounts, antiques, art, or jewelry. Each asset listed should include its fair market value. Calculating the fair market value of some assets can be challenging, and you may need to enlist the help of a qualified appraiser.
In the Average Monthly Expenses section, you will need to provide information on all your major monthly expenses. Examples of monthly expenses include house payments, car payments, utility bills, and childcare costs.
After calculating your monthly expenses, the next section of the document will ask you to calculate your payments to creditors. These payments are a list of your current debts, such as student loans, vehicle loans, and credit card debts. If you skip entering your information in the initial summary of your income and needs, use the totals calculated in the other sections of the document to help you complete the summary.
Tips for Filling Out a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit
A DRFA is an official legal document. You are required to complete this document accurately and to the best of your knowledge. Submitting a false, misleading, or inaccurate DRFA can land you in hot water with the court. Keep these tips in mind while completing your DRFA paperwork:
- Take your time
- Be as accurate as possible
- Do not leave information out
- Do not hide assets
- Do not inflate your expenses
- Talk to an experienced attorney
Contact an Experienced Georgia Divorce Attorney
Filing for divorce? Need help wading through the complicated legal paperwork? Talk to a skilled Georgia divorce attorney from Kessler & Solomiany, LLC today. Our compassionate legal team can help you effectively navigate the legal system. Call our office today at (404) 688-8810 for a confidential consultation.