Parties in domestic relations actions are required in Rule 24 of the Georgia Uniform Superior Court Rules to create, share and file a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA) throughout the course of their litigation. The affidavit provides a snapshot of your financial status. Attorneys review it in preparation for their examination of their client or in preparation of their cross examination of the opposing party. Judges review it when determining alimony or child support whether at a final hearing or a temporary hearing.
The affidavit is broken out into five different sections: summary, income, assets, expenses and debts. All sections are completed with monthly figures. Review Rule 24 before converting weekly and hourly figures to monthly ones.
The income section requires a party to disclose all income they have available to them. This includes income from rental properties or unemployment in addition to income earned in employment. If you are paid hourly and work full-time, then you should multiply your hourly wage by 174. If you are paid weekly, then you should multiply your weekly rate by 4.35. These factors are listed in Rule 24.2A.
The asset section lists the assets available to the affiant. In a divorce, some of the assets may be non-marital or have a non-marital component. For example, prior to the marriage the Wife had a 401(k) through her employer. She left that employer a month before she married and did not contribute to that 401(k) after her marriage. Therefore, 100% of that account is non-marital. Regardless of whether the Husband can stake a claim to her 401(k), she must disclose it on her financial affidavit.
The expense section requires the affiant to list all their expenses they incur each month. For expenses that occur less frequently such as car insurance, the affiant would pro-rate the cost for a month. If you have children, the expense section is very important as expenses you pay for the children may have an impact on the amount of child support you receive or pay.
The last section is the debt section. The affiant is required to list all debts, the balance owed, and the monthly payment. Like the asset section, some of these debts may not be marital in divorce cases.
The summary rolls up each section into a clear summary for a judge or a party to review.
The last page requires the party to sign the affidavit and swear to its accuracy. Therefore, it is important that the affiant carefully review the DRFA before signing it.
Later this week, we will explore why it is so important to have a complete and accurate DRFA.