One of the most critical documents in your
divorce is the Statement of Net Worth ("SNW"). Often overlooked by clients
who leave items out, over or understate values and expenses and fail to
Your SNW and that of your spouse is one of the first documents that you
complete for your attorney. Together with your tax return, w-2 and recent
pay stub, the attorneys are able to begin to understand the family expenses,
income and lifestyle.
The SNW does not have to contain the value of assets that are subject to
an appraisal such as the marital or other residences, business value or
car values. However, the assets do need to be listed so the attorneys
know what is in the "inventory" of assets and debts. Listing
all credit card debt and private debt is important as well.
The SNW is often relied upon by the attorneys and the court in determining
child support, temporary
maintenance and how to allocate expenses. Additionally, the SNW is reviewed at depositions
and certainly at trial. There is no greater embarrassment at trial then
to be caught having inflated expenses, minimized income and leaving off
significant assets in order to hide income, prevent
equitable distribution or to reduce or increase support obligations.
Maintaining credibility with the court is vital to success. If the judge
thinks you are a liar and trying to hide or conceal assets and income
the court may choose not to believe you about other issues which may not
even be financial.
Try your best to provide a complete and reasonably accurate SNW for your
attorney. It will in the end save you money and preserve your credibility.