Parties to a divorce or custody case are in a unique relationship compared to the litigants in other types of cases. The parties in a domestic relations case know each other and either share a history (in a relationship or marriage) or will share a future—when a child is at issue. The rules mandate certain things be disclosed even if no-one is asking for them to be disclosed.
For example, any financial documents that are material and that could be relevant must be disclosed including tax returns, pay stubs, W-2s, child care costs, medical insurance, mortgage contracts, retirement plans, pensions, IRAs, and 401(k)s. Your monthly budget of debts and income will be detailed in the Sworn Financial Statement—which will be one of the first tasks you will encounter in the litigation process. This document asks you to list all of your monthly debts as well as all of your assets.
What to Include in a Sworn Financial Statement
Everything you own, everything you earn and everything you pay must be included on this legal document. Form 35.1, of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure (“C.R.C.P.”), list the mandated “disclosures”. Use this form as a guide to what needs to be disclosed and included on the Sworn Financial Statement. Your Colorado Springs divorce lawyer should provide to you this divorce document as well as Form 35.1 so you can get started on this important task.
When completing the Sworn Financial Statement—even when using Form 35.1 as a guide–it is common, for there to be additional questions and issues regarding what you must disclose and how to categorize certain assets and debts. Your attorney will guide you through the process. At The Law Office of Jeanne M. Wilson & Associates, PC, the paralegal staff work with most clients to complete the Sworn Financial Statement.
However, any legal questions that arise—or issues regarding strategy and how to treat a certain asset or debt—must be answered by the attorney. We encourage clients to contact us any time there are questions or issues with any legal document in a divorce—or other matters that arise.
The Sworn Financial Statement is an important way to show the court your financial status as well as it being a way to convey your credibility. Courts look at the expenses of the parties as listed on this statement and make judgments about whether the debts listed are realistic or inflated. This statement will be one of the first impressions you make upon the court as to your veracity; and will likely be one of the first times the court will find you to be either credible or not credible.
Do not underestimate the power of the court finding credibility and reasonableness of expenses. The more credible the court finds you to be, the more likely the court is to be persuaded by your evidence. If, however, you are found not credible, you will likely have lost an important opportunity to convince the court of your position. Your best bet is to be realistic and honest when you complete your Sworn Financial Statement. Within a framework promoting credibility, you and your attorney can pursue the strategy you have developed with more predictable results.
Jeanne M. Wilson is highly experienced when it comes to Sworn Financial Statements and she would love to help you make more sense of this document. Contact a top-rated Colorado Springs family lawyer today and schedule a consultation where she can walk you through this legal document step by step.