Being able to accurately estimate your monthly expenses is essential during a divorce and when dividing property from the marriage. The amount of child and spousal support (aka maintenance or alimony) are impacted by your ability to accurately gauge your cost of living in a typical month and your anticipated cost of living in the future.
We recommend that you review your bank accounts, credit card statements, and monthly bills to ascertain an “average” monthly expense for each budget item such as utilities, rent, internet, medical bills, day care, and food and clothing costs.
Although some costs vary throughout the year (i.e. utility bills), or are paid in one lump sum semi-annually (i.e. auto insurance), it is necessary to calculate the annual cost by dividing it by twelve, for an “average monthly expense”. Don’t forget to include any expense for taxes that are due at the end of the year!
You will be required to complete a financial statement in most divorce or child custody cases. This statement is called a Sworn Financial Statement. On it, you will need to list all of your monthly expenses, assets, and debts for yourself and your children.
The Sworn Financial Statement is one of the most important documents that you will need to present to the Court in your case. You should invest the time and energy to make sure it is done correctly and, where necessary, consult with an attorney to be sure. People often do not place enough importance on the accuracy of their financial statement, which can be a costly mistake. This is the document the judge will rely on when issuing financial orders in your case.