When you begin the divorce process, you need to be as prepared as possible. In addition to your divorce complaint, your lawyer will also have to file financial forms. Many of these forms aren’t common knowledge, but they’re essential to getting a fresh start after your divorce is settled.
Learn more about domestic relations financial affidavits, or DRFAs, how they can affect your divorce, and how to complete them with your divorce attorney’s help in the blog below.
What is a DRFA?
Affidavits are written declarations affirmed with an oath. They are binding. A domestic relations financial affidavit or DRFA is a written statement affirming your financial situation. Simply put, it’s the document that will tell the court your economic circumstances.
You’ll be telling the court how much money you bring to your household, including any salary, bonuses, overtime, commissions, deferred compensation, or supplemental income. You’ll report any housing, utility payments, and household or medical expenses, to name a few common expenses.
Your DRFA will also tell the court about assets or property and their associated value, and you’ll report any debts, like loans or credit card debts.
Why a DRFA Matters in Georgia Divorces
The court aims to reach an equitable decision when creating a divorce decree. DRFAs provide some of the information the court needs to reach that decision.
The outcomes of your divorce depend heavily on relevant financial information. Your financial status and your spouse’s financial status can affect decisions about child support, alimony, and the division of property. Providing relevant and accurate financial information ensures that your divorce agreement will prepare you for your next phase of life.
After a divorce, one of the parents is typically awarded primary custody of the child if you don’t come to a 50/50 agreement. The noncustodial parent will pay the custodial parent child support. Georgia law expects parents to provide equally for their children, even if they’re separated.
Primary parents with lower incomes can usually expect more in child support to make up for the difference. Accurate information on your DRFA could make the difference between getting suitable child support payments.
When spouses divorce, the one with a lower income could be awarded temporary or permanent alimony, also known as spousal support. The court needs to know how much money you currently earn so it can accurately calculate the balance if alimony is requested.
Division of Property
Georgia follows equitable division guidelines. When a divorce is settled, the couple’s marital property is split fairly, but not necessarily 50/50. If one spouse contributed more to the household’s marital property or if one spouse is taking the house, the court will decide what’s fair after their divorce.
DRFAs show the court what kind of assets and debts the divorcing couple has, and your attorneys can help determine what should be allocated to whom.
How to Fill out a DRFA in Georgia
Once you decide to pursue a divorce, you need to get a copy of a DRFA to complete.
You can download the form online, request one from the courthouse, or get one from your attorney. You can fill this document out alone, but working with your lawyer is advised. They’ll have the patience and experience to guide you through the form’s intricacies. Even a simple mistake could be costly in a divorce and affect you for years to come.
Preparing for Your DRFA
The first step in this process is gathering all the relevant financial data . You’re trying to show the court a typical month’s expenses at your house, your contributions, and your expectations after a divorce.
You need to gather any documents that can support your claimed income, expenses, debts, and assets. That means finding pay stubs, tax documents, financial statements, and more. Gathering this information can take time, but it’s a crucial step to take.
If you’re worried your spouse is hiding money or information, contact your family law attorney. They will have the resources to find hidden assets and ensure your settlement agreement is honest and fair.
Completing Your DRFA Form
After ensuring the documents are accurate, you should work with your attorney to fill out all the necessary sections. You’ll provide basic information about your family, like your name, address, your children’s name, and your marriage date.
You’ll also have to include more nuanced information. For instance, you will report your total income along with everything that makes up that income: bonuses, salaries, commissions, etc. Your attorney can help you calculate everything and decide where it fits on the form.
Finalizing and Turning in Your DRFA
After you complete your DRFA, you need to sign and date it with a notary public or authorized official. An affidavit is a binding document: you’re swearing that everything on record is as accurate and true as possible. Once your DRFA is signed and notarized, you and your attorney can submit it to the courthouse and send a copy to your spouse and their legal representative.
What to Remember for Your DRFA
Here are some critical tips to keep in mind as you fill out your domestic relations financial affidavit.
- Your attorney only knows what you tell them. When you fill out your affidavit, your attorney can help you keep it as accurate as possible. However, they’ll only be able to help if you’ve given them all the information they need.
- Be as accurate as possible. Like any official document, there can be consequences if you lie or bend the truth. If you’re found to have lied or made false statements under oath, you could face criminal punishments.
- Revisions are possible. You can update your DRFA if your circumstances change and the court needs to know.
Call a Marietta Divorce Lawyer Now
A divorce is a challenging situation for anyone. Keeping track of all your documents and forms can feel exhausting. Working with a knowledgeable divorce attorney in the Greater Atlanta area can help you reach the ideal outcome in your divorce.
Let the legal team at the Gentry Law Firm LLC help you fill out your forms. We’re ready to hear your case and work with you to finalize your divorce – on your terms. Call (770) 425-5573 or use our online form to schedule your free consultation.