The Importance Of Your Statement Of Net Worth In Divorce

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 report income.

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 temporary 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.