The law in South Carolina says that in any domestic relation action in which the financial condition of a party is relevant or is an issue to be considered by the court, a current financial declaration shall be served and filed by all parties.
In other words, in any divorce where division of assets and debts, child support, alimony, or attorney fees are issues (most divorces). This also applies in almost all custody actions because the issue of finances is relevant in a custody or visitation case.
You can take a look at the form here:
In any case where the financial declaration is required it should be filed and served prior to or at the first hearing, or within 45 days that the Complaint is served, or whichever occurs first.
It is important to be thorough and honest in the preparation of these documents. The court relies on these documents when making determinations as to child support, alimony, or other financial decisions. When our office is representing a party to a divorce or custody action we assist them in the completion of these documents. Usually from a year to date pay stub or a W-2 (or similar tax documents) we are able to ascertain a person’s gross income, along with the mandatory and optional deductions each month. The document in addition to showing the court what a parties gross and net income is, also demonstrates their monthly expenses. This document also represents to the court various accounts, debts, and other assets, along with their values and liabilities.
Accuracy is critical for a to ensure proper relief is assigned
It is important that these documents are accurate. I have seen people fail to list auto payments, and because they are not listed in the document, the court does not address who is to pay the auto while the case is pending. I have seen a judge order child support based on the financial declarations, where one of the parents failed to list the health insurance cost monthly for the children, and thus, that parent did not get credit in the child support calculation, leading to a lesser amount of child support she received then she otherwise was entitled. When you consider things like alimony and attorney fees are not guideline based (think about the child support guidelines) the court weighs many factors, including ability to pay the relief requested, and the need to receive this relief, you begin to understand how important it is that they are accurate.
The document itself contains instructions to aid in completing it. READ OVER THEM CAREFULLY.
If you are faced with a matter in the family court and would like to discuss your case with one of our family court attorneys please do not hesitate to contact the law office of Holland & Usry, PA at 864.582.0416 or toll free 888.230.1841 to speak to an attorney. We will be happy to sit down and discuss your case with you.