One of the more annoying tasks for someone going through a Massachusetts divorce is to have to deal with the financial statement required by the Court. It is typical that in any divorce this form will be redone more than once, because it is required to be current each time there is an important event in Court. As annoying as it is, it is critical that it be done accurately and truthfully. Many a divorce case has been lost because of sloppy financial statements which present opportunities for a good divorce lawyer to cross examine their clients’ spouse. The most important comment I have about financial statements is :”explain, explain,explain.” The form simply does not permit anyone with a reasonably complicated financial situation to fill it out without many footnotes and explanations. The human memory is fragile. If you put something on a financial statement and you have taken an average, or estimated something, it is acceptable to do so, but you must make a footnote somewhere to serve as a reminder to yourself as to how you calculated the number. Your lawyer is required to certify that the financial statement is accurate, and you are required to sign under the pains and penalties of perjury that it is accurate. If you misrepresent something on your financial statement, it can impair everything that follows. Once the Judge loses confidence in your trustworthiness, you will not be believed about anything. In following posts, I will deal with some common issues that come up in filling out financial statements.
Effective November 1, 2023, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court has reinstated a parent education course requirement for divorcing and other partners (such a paternity matters) with Standing Order 3-2023 (here). Required parent