According to Pasadena divorce lawyers, financial affidavits are an important but often misunderstood part of your divorce. This can be illustrated by the recent publicity surrounding the information on George Zimmerman’s financial affidavit.
Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch volunteer acquitted last year of murdering Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen, is in the process of negotiating a divorce settlement with his wife, Shellie Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s affidavit spelling out his income, assets, and debt made headlines due to the fact that he claimed to spend $100 per month on vacations and $200 per month on mental health counseling despite having no income or home. He listed his total expenses at $3,304 per month, his total assets at $14,000, and his total debts at $2.5 million. His legal defense fund, which had previously raised $400,000, now has a balance of just $300.
One of the main purposes of a financial affidavit is to make sure there are no hidden assets. Reporters were quick to point out that the affidavit made no mention of the painting that Zimmerman sold on eBay for $100,000 last December, although the painting would not need to be listed if the winning bidder had failed to follow through with payment. When you submit a financial affidavit, you are swearing under penalty of perjury that all of the information provided is true and that you are not omitting any details regarding the state of your finances.
A financial affidavit is not an opportunity for the judge to evaluate if you’re wisely spending your money. As long as the information reported is correct and can be verified, it’s irrelevant whether your expenses are out of line with your income.
To avoid trouble when preparing your financial affidavit, do not guess at numbers. Affidavits take time to prepare correctly, but accurate information is needed for the court to divide assets and debts and to set child support or alimony payments. Your attorney will only review the document for glaring errors, such as omission of obvious expenses like mortgage or student loan payments.
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Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com if you are in need of legal representation during your divorce. Our Pasadena family law firm can discuss your options and help you develop a strategy that best addresses your unique situation.