What Information to Include in Your Financial Statements for Divorce or Child Support in Maryland
As family law attorneys, we assist our clients in preparing their required financial statements for their child support and/or alimony cases. With our assistance, clients can feel certain that they are completing the appropriate financial statement and that their financial picture is being accurately presented to the Court. In Maryland, there are two types of financial statements required for family law cases. One is referred to as the Short Form Financial Statement, while the other is referred to as the Long Form Financial Statement. This blog will address the differences between the two financial statements.
What is a Short Form Financial Statement?
Short Form Financial Statements are required when one parent is seeking to establish or modify child support. The information required to be reported on the Short Form Financial Statement is the information needed in order to calculate child support pursuant to the Maryland Child Support Guidelines. In Maryland, the Child Support Guidelines must be calculated in all cases where child support is at issue. If the parents have a combined monthly income less than $30,000 per month (or $360,000 per year), then the Short Form is the appropriate financial form to be filed in the case. For the Short Form Financial Statement, very specific, and limited, information is needed. Many clients find that the Short Form Financial statement is relatively simple and straightforward to prepare, since it only requires the following information:
Gross monthly income from all sources;
Monthly health insurance premium information for minor children;
Work-related child-care expenses;
Extraordinary monthly medical expenses;
Monthly school expenses; and
Monthly transportation expenses.
Clients should be prepared to provide counsel and the Court with documentation supporting all of the numbers reported on the Short Form and to sign the Short Form under oath. This financial statement will need to be filed with the Court with the initial Complaint or Answer.
What is the Long Form Financial Statement?
The primary difference between the Short Form and the Long Form Financial Statement is the purpose. A Long Form is needed when a party is seeking to establish or modify alimony or when the parents have a combined monthly income above the Child Support Guidelines threshold of $30,000 per month (or $360,000 per year). The Long Form Financial Statement is divided into three sections: Monthly Expenses, Income Statement, and Assets and Liabilities. For Monthly Expenses, clients must include detailed information regarding the cost for themselves and their minor child(ren)’s:
Residence, including mortgages, rent, insurance, and utilities;
Medical, mental health, and dental expenses;
Recreation and entertainment expenses (vacations, memberships, camp, extracurricular lessons, etc.);
Transportation expenses; and
Gift, clothing, incidental, and other relevant miscellaneous expenses.
Clients often have the most difficulty preparing this section of the Long Form. For the Income section, clients must include information regarding their:
Gross monthly wages;
Net income from wages;
Net income from other sources; and
Total monthly income.
For Assets and Liabilities, clients must include information regarding their:
Valuable assets such as real estate holdings, bank/saving accounts, stocks, investments automobiles, personal items, etc.; and
Liabilities such as mortgages, car loans, banks loans, accrued taxes, and balance of credit card accounts.
The Long Form is meant to be an accurate financial picture of a client’s current situation and the client must provide documentation to support the assertions being made. It is not meant to be a wish list in the hopes of getting more alimony or higher child support. We often find that when financial statements are inflated, the Court questions the credibility of the person who prepared it.
Accurately filling out a Long Form Financial Statement can be daunting and challenging for many people. Our team is prepared to help you navigate these difficult situations.
If you would like to request further information regarding financial statements, or need assistance in filling out your financial forms, please contact Laurie Wasserman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-842-1070. The legal team at the Law Office of Laurie M. Wasserman is here to help guide and advocate for you.
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