Bryan J. Koslow, MBA, CFP®, CDFATM, in Red Bank, NJ, answers:
The Financial Affidavit is a comprehensive list of all assets, liabilities, income, and expenses for both parties. It contains all relevant case information including the date of the marriage, children’s names, issues in dispute, and the date of separation.
Each spouse typically completes his or her own Financial Affidavit certifying to the best of their knowledge that all financial information is complete and accurate. The income and expense sections are often analyzed to assess the marital lifestyle for the purposes of determining child support and alimony or spousal support.
The information contained in the Financial Affidavit is the basis for financial negotiations and often represents the first time the spouses have compiled a household budget and balance sheet. The Financial Affidavit should also be used as the basis for important determinations such as whether either party can afford to maintain the marital home, how retirement plans may change due to the divorce, and whether the lower income spouse must look for additional employment opportunities.