Who Needs to Complete
a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit?
If you are a party to a family law case, such as divorce, custody, child support, alimony or modification case, you will need to complete a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (sometimes referred to as a “DRFA”).
What is a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit?
A Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit is a sworn statement under oath listing your assets and summarizing your monthly income and expenses.
Where Can I Find a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit?
You can click here for a DRFA in excel or click here for a DRFA in a pdf fillable format or you can obtain a hard copy of the form directly from our office upon request or from the Clerk of Court in the County where your case is pending.
When Do I Need to Complete a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit?
You need to complete your Domestic Relations Financials Affidavit as soon as you can, attach two current paystubs and provide it your lawyer. It will be reviewed by your lawyer and filed with the Court (minus your social security number and other personal information) at least fifteen days prior to your Temporary Hearing or Trial.
Why Do I Need to Complete a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit?
Domestic Relations Financial Affidavits are mandated by Georgia Superior Court Rule 24.2 and are used by judges to determine the proper amount of child support based upon the income of the parties and the amounts paid for the children's healthcare. They are also used to determine an appropriate amount of spousal support.Filling out a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit may seem like a tedious waste of time but they are frequently the centerpiece of cross-examination at a hearing or trial. They are the most frequently used tools for cross-examination so keep in mind the following tips when completing your Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit:
1. Take your time to accurately report your income, expenses and assets. If you fail to report your total income, you will damage your credibility. Income earned from all sources, even cash income from a side business, such as tips or unreported earnings, must be shown on your DRFA even if that income has not been reported on your income tax return.
2. If you own your own business and pay your personal expenses through the business, those personal expenses need to be added to your reported income. For example, if your business pays for your home cable, gas or electric bills, you need to gross up your income to include those amounts unless you legitimately operate your business out of your home.
3. All assets must be reflected on your Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit even assets were acquired prior to the marriage that are non-marital separate property. This means that if you received an inheritance and have kept it in a separate account, you still need to list it on your DRFA. If you have a bank account or safety deposit box that your spouse doesn't know about, you still need to report it on your DRFA. All assets of any significant value need to be listed on your DRFA.
4. Avoid the temptation to inflate your expenses. Many people pad the expenses portion of their Financial Affidavit with high estimates for monthly groceries, eating out, clothing, gas and vacations. The Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit is designed to give the Court an accurate financial snapshot of you right now; it is not a creative writing project. Being less than candid when filling in these figures can result in you appearing foolish and intentionally deceitful at trial. If you don't go on vacations, don't include money for vacations. If you work at home and don't need to dress up, don't include a large monthly expense for clothing. When you report your monthly expenses for groceries and eating out, use reasonable, good faith estimates. Be honest, be accurate and don't try to fool the court.
Filling in a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit is time consuming and you may be tempted to rush through it and put down anything just to get it done. Don't fall into that trap. Assume that you will be subjected to extensive cross- examination about the information on your Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit. Get it right the first time and you can sleep easy at night and not have to worry about what you wrote down and how should respond when questioned about the information you recorded for your income, assets and expenses. The truth speaks for itself and serves you far better in the long run.
For more information, contact our experienced Georgia family law attorneys.