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What is a ‘financial statement’ in a Massachusetts divorce

When a couple in Massachusetts decides to dissolve their marriage, there are many issues to be considered. Because it can be an especially emotional and stressful time, parties to a divorce may feel like putting off certain actions that need to completed to move the case forward. One of these that is often pushed aside for other ‘more important’ matters is the completion of the required financial statement.

The financial statement in a divorce is meant to give both the court and the other party a clear, accurate picture of one’s financial status. The information provided by it will be used to help resolve several important issues, such as distribution of property, and the amount of child support, if any. It is important to remember that the financial statement is a sworn document, meaning that by signing it, you are promising you have told the truth when filling it out. There are two forms of financial statement in Massachusetts, the long form and the short form. The short form is used if a party’s gross income is under $75,000 per year; otherwise the long form is used.

There are certain financial documents that may help a party to a divorce to fill out his or her financial statement. The last year’s tax return will be one of the more important, along with pay stubs from that year, if you have any. Utility bills, such as electric or gas, will also help in determining the amount you will fill out for monthly expenses. Phone bills may also be helpful for figuring expenses. If you own a home, a recent mortgage statement and any deed or bill of sale for the property may aid you as well.

One other important thing to remember is that every line on the financial statement should be completed. If one does not apply, placing a “0” or “N/A” is prudent. Finally, dealing with financial issues in a divorce is often complicated and confusing, especially when the divorce is contested. Those wishing more information may want to consider contacting an experienced Massachusetts family law attorney.