Providing an accurate picture of your financial situation is very important as you go into the divorce process. It’s common for a family law attorney to ask for a financial disclosure, even if it is just an informal one for them only, early on in the process. This way, they can get a full understanding of the financial picture and begin to talk to you about your options. When it’s time to actually go into the courts, a financial affidavit is usually required so that all of the assets and liabilities are fully accounted for.

Completing these forms can be confusing at times, however, and it’s normal to have questions. It’s best to initially begin filling out everything in pencil so that if you find that you need to make changes or updates later on, you don’t have to start the form over from scratch.

In some cases, it can be challenging to figure out which category a certain expense should be filed under. By penciling in the numbers, you can make changes as needed as you go over the form with your attorney and get a better understanding of what should go where.

It’s also easy to underestimate your expenses, which can impact support amounts later on. It may be best to take annual amounts and divide them by 12 to get a better estimate of your monthly expenses since most months actually have slightly more than four full weeks. You may also want to review your last few bank statements to be sure you don’t forget any bills that are automatically deducted or only taken out once a year.

Source: Divorce Magazine, “Charting Your Living Expenses During Divorce,” Cathy Belmonte Newman, accessed Jan. 29, 2016