Get Your Financial Statement Prior To Your Maryland Divorce
If you have read the preceding items on the ten point divorce check list you may notice that none of them are practical guides on how to obtain or prepare documents to file in your case. Such forms are offered by the Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts at the following link where you can locate and download those forms: http://mdcourts.gov/family/formsindex.html
In this last point on the Divorce checklist, I want to urge you to obtain and complete these forms as quickly and as carefully as you can. There are two financial statement forms the Short Form Financial Statement DR30 and the Long Form Financial Statement DR31
|From Maryland Divorce Forms Online|
If you have a lawyer, he/she will not need the forms. Lawyers have them. Nevertheless, these are two forms which are so important to your case that you should know about them and start working on them as soon as you know a divorce is “in the cards.” Even before you have a lawyer. Note I did not say submit them without a lawyer, start working on them!
The first form you will need is the Short Form Financial Statement (SFFS) DR30. This is the form you submit if ONLY child support is an issue. This form is pretty straightforward. Income? Health insurance? Daycare?
Child support does not leave any “wiggle room” and so there is not much on this form. In child support court the amount of your car payment probably won’t matter to the judge. While that seems counter intuitive because you need a car …to have a job…to pay child support… etc. Sorry, that is the way it is.
If alimony of any kind is an issue, you must file a Long Form Financial Statement (LFFS) DR31. If you are the initiating party you file this with your complaint and if you are the responding party, you file it with your response.
Remember, this financial statement is required in any case where you OR THE OTHER PARTY are requesting financial relief other than child support, such as alimony. In contrast, the “Short Form Financial Statement” is required where child support is the ONLY financial issue. If both alimony and child support are at issue, you do not have to submit both, just the Long Form.
The LFFS includes your income, your assets and an itemized list of your expenses. This form should be filled out with the greatest care. You must recognize the numbers you put in your LFFS can be the lynchpin to your case and will also affect your credibility with the court, even on non-financial issues
Once it is filed, as described above, you cannot “un-file” it. For example, I have seen a person made to look a fool because they filed a hasty LFFS in June showing they spent $400 per month on food and then in July they filed an amended financial statement that said they spend $600 per month in food. Sure, maybe you made a mistake? Don’t.
It is true that your expenses don’t usually matter to the child support court. That all changes in alimony court. Sometimes “need” versus “ability to pay” is the ONLY issue in an alimony court. Accordingly, don’t unreasonably trim your expenses to look better to the judge.
In most people’s financial statement they break even or fall short. That is the American way. Grab a hold of that and get onboard!!!
Tim Conlon Esquire at
The Divorce Place –
322 West Patrick St, #101 Frederick Maryland 21701