During a matrimonial proceeding, there is a document that both parties have to complete called a statement of net worth. A statement of net worth is the financial snapshot of the assets, the liabilities, and the expenses of the parties. It is a very important document because it’s the opposing side as well as the court’s first look at the client and their credibility in some instances.

The statement of net worth is broken down into about five parts, the first one being what are your monthly expenses? We’re talking about mortgage, property tax payments, or rent; we’re talking about utilities, groceries, lunches at school, lunches at work, the expenses for your car, insurance expenses, whether or not you have domestic help at home, what those costs are, if you have childcare expenses, vacations, camp – everything that takes place in the context of your family life has to be broken down, and we like it when someone says, “Well, this is my Con Ed bill; it’s $200.99.” We’re going to put the 99 cents in because that’s really what it is.

The next section talks about employment, what the person’s income is. If you have the spouse that doesn’t have any income, then we still mark on there what the other spouse’s income is so that we can show it.

That is followed by the section on assets, and that includes checking accounts, bank accounts, broker margin accounts, stocks, pensions and IRAs, the marital residence – sometimes there’s a second home, sometimes there’s a timeshare – the vehicles – every possible thing that you and your spouse own, that is considered to be an asset.

Then it moves to the liabilities section, which includes credit cards, things as if for example, if you just purchased a new living room set recently and you’re paying it off, that has to go there, the mortgage on any of the real property you own, any loans you have on the cars, any loans you’ve taken on your pensions or your 401(k)s – all those liabilities get listed there because at the end of the document, you want to be able to ascertain what the person’s net worth is, whether it’s a positive or a negative.

The last part of the document is where the party filling it out can tell the court anything else they feel that the court should know. Whether the other spouse has wasted marital asset –maybe that person has taken all the savings and spent it unfortunately gambling – you want to let the court know those things. You sign the document – the party signs the document, and swears to the truth of the document. The party has to be very much involved in the putting together of the information and the reviewing of that document because it’s a very important document in a matrimonial action.

If you are in need of legal counsel, please contact The Penichet Firm and we will be happy to assist you in your family and criminal law matters.