The South Carolina Family Court Rules require parties to complete financial declarations in cases where finances are relevant. These declarations bear a direct impact on your divorce or family law matter. That’s why attorneys constantly stress to their clients the importance of filling out these forms correctly. Not all clients understand the necessity of these documents, especially if they settle the case. Trust the guidance of an experienced Greenville, SC family law attorney to help you complete this critical step.
Using a form prescribed by court, financial declarations must be served on all parties in a family law case. The court will likely require the declaration to be completed even if a settlement is reached. There are specific rules concerning the filing and service of this form that have to be followed. Check with a Greenville, SC family law attorney.
The form requires a multitude of data and information from both parties, including:
- Their addresses, occupations, and employers
- A listing of all sources of gross monthly income (e.g. wages, overtime, unemployment)
- Itemization of monthly payroll deductions (e.g. Social Security, taxes, and health insurance)
- Itemization of monthly expenses (e.g. rent and utilities)
- Listing of installment loan payments
- Listing of non-installment debts and obligations
- Itemization of known marital and non-marital property, including listing of financial accounts
- Information about retirement accounts, pensions, stocks and bonds
- Information about real property
These, of course, are not the only requirements. Some documents, such as pay stubs, are required to be attached in support of the declaration. Work with a knowledgeable Greenville, SC family law attorney to make sure the form is completed fully and accurately.
The declaration is necessary for any matter in which finances would be relevant. And that covers a lot of ground. Child support is based heavily on the parents’ respective incomes. Alimony and spousal support are also dependent on the incomes of the parties. Concerning equitable distribution, the judge has to make sure his or her decision is fair in light of all circumstances. Those circumstances include the relative assets and debts of the parties, disclosure of which is required by the declaration.
Many parties feel that their personal financial information is none of the other party’s business. This assumption is a mistake, however. And it’s not just because the information is needed to render accurate judgments. Courts want to know whether the parties are telling the truth. For example, one spouse may claim to need alimony, but the declaration makes it clear he or she does not. Or, a spouse may claim they can’t afford to pay alimony. But the declaration shows he or she can somehow afford to spend hundreds each month at the movies. Financial declarations keep the parties honest. You should always be upfront with your Greenville, SC family law attorney about their contents.
Intentionally putting false information on the declaration will land you in hot water. For one, doing so is technically perjury. The declaration has to be signed under oath, meaning you are representing the information to be accurate. Also, the court cannot do its job unless the data in the form is correct. Therefore, an inaccurate declaration can deny a party a fair judgment.
In case you’re tempted to cheat on the declaration, remember that the other party has ways of learning the truth. These include not only discovery tools but subpoenas and talking to third parties who know your finances. Your Greenville, SC family law attorney can help you complete the declaration, so it’s not as intimidating as it seems. But don’t lie on the form and subject yourself, and your case, to serious trouble.
We’re Here to Help With Financial Declarations and Your Family Law Matter
Family law is a process, and each step in it can seem overwhelming. But the outcome is very serious and depends on the strength of your case. That’s why you need the experience of Greenville Family Law. We will walk with you each step of the way and make the best argument for your position. Give us a call today to set up your consultation.