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Financial Declaration Forms: The Importance of Accuracy

March 29, 2016

Recently, the South Carolina Court of Appeals rejected a Greenville man’s claims that the lower court made errors in dividing marital property. The lower court found, and the Court of Appeals agreed that the husband had failed to disclose property he owned in Greece that the husband had claimed was non-existent. The family court made the decision to distribute property the husband had that was located in Greece. The husband did not disclose this property in his initial documents submitted to the court, but did discuss this Greek property during his trial testimony. Among other reasons, the wife received a larger share of marital assets because the husband was not honest. The court chastised the husband’s failure to disclose particular assets.

 

What is a financial declaration form?

 

South Carolina, like many other states, has participants in family court each fill out what is known as a financial declaration. Absent any exceptional circumstances, this form should be one of the first documents completed and filed with the family court. This form is used to help the court determine an appropriate distribution of property. In South Carolina, the form asks for some simple information such as name and address. This information is readily available, but some parts of the form are more intimidating. The form also asks for many detailed figures that you may not have immediate access to at your fingertips such as the worth of retirement accounts, exact balances of banking accounts, and how much you spend on vague categories like “Adult Incidental Expenses”. This form is intended to show all of a party’s debts and assets, including marital and non-marital property.  There is also a shortened version of this form that is strictly used for cases involving child support. This form often serves as the primary piece of evidence in cases that involve division of property.

 

Why are they important?

 

Financial declarations are a key tool for the family court in South Carolina. The court requires a form to be completed by both parties any time “a financial condition” of either party is at issue. This would include divorce cases, the division of property, alimony, and even child custody. The process of the court obtaining every piece of financial information about each party would be incredibly time consuming. If a person is deceptive on this form and fails to state a particular asset or a particular debt, this deception will adversely affect the outcome of a property division.  The inflation of expenses can be particularly problematic for both the court and the parties involved.

 

Contact Our Skilled Family Law Attorneys

 

If you are involved in any proceeding that requires the disclosure of assets, contact an experienced South Carolina family law attorney today. We have the knowledge and skills to help individuals fill out financial declarations and proceed with all aspects of your case. At the Surasky Law Firm, LLC, we understand that there are many challenges in any family court action, and we look forward to discussing how we can help you. Contact us today.

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