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Financial Affidavit tips for Michigan couples considering divorce

In Michigan, when married couples split up, a disclosure of each party's assets and liabilities isn't always required. Still, an Affidavit of Financial Disclosure, or Financial Affidavit, is a good idea in many cases. The Financial Affidavit lists each person's assets, income, expenditures and liabilities. The court may use this document when determining which party will have child custody or pay child or spousal support.

The process of putting clear-cut financial information on paper may seem simple enough, but many divorcing couples soon find out that filling out a Financial Affidavit is more complicated than expected. Nonetheless, the form can be extremely important, especially in divorces involving considerable assets or heavy debt.

A common problem with Financial Affidavits is inaccuracy. Since spousal and child support are determined by each party's financial disclosure, there is a temptation among husbands and wives to provide false information. In an attempt to reduce his or her support payments, a person might give falsely high numbers for the other party's income or assets. Likewise, in an attempt to receive higher support payments, a person might not report all of his or her income.

Then, of course, honest mistakes also occur. Looking back through credit card payments, bills and bank statements can be a mind-boggling task, and even a misplaced decimal point can cause confusion. In any case, each party's future finances are at stake, so inaccuracies on the Financial Affidavit, intentional or otherwise, will prove detrimental to the success of the divorce settlement. Mistakes on the affidavit typically lead to more time in court and increased costs.

Divorcing couples in the Brighton area should keep in mind that their Financial Affidavits can be revised. If your income or debt situation changes, you can update the information on the affidavit to reflect your current finances.

Source: Forbes, "The Five Key Points Divorcing Women Need to Know About Financial Affidavits," Jeff Landers, May 9, 2012

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