If you’re in the early stages of the divorce process in Massachusetts, you will be asked to complete a financial statement concerning your assets/liabilities and income /expenses.
These financial documents are critically important to the outcome of any divorce. However, most women or their husbands don’t know how to accurately complete them. Many people will simply estimate. Others will take a guess, because they don’t have access to the information they need, or they may not know how to find and/or compute it.
Estimating when filling out financial statements can prove disastrous and complete accuracy is of the utmost importance.
Even more importantly, these documents will be used to determine the division of your assets, alimony and even child support. Omissions and/or errors in these documents could have a significant impact on the financial outcome of your divorce.
So what can you do?
You can have a Lifestyle Analysis prepared.
A Lifestyle Analysis establishes what your standard of living was during the marriage. It reconstructs:
1) the day-to-day living expenses incurred during your marriage and
2) the spending habits of both you and your husband.
A Lifestyle Analysis has an emphasis on the last several years of your marriage, and it usually includes an analysis of:
- all financial statements (bank, brokerage, credit cards, etc.)
- personal and business income tax returns
- recurring and ordinary expenses within each category of expense (clothing, food, housing, entertainment, travel, etc.)
- unusual, non-recurring and/or seasonal expenses
- any discrepancies
- credit reports
A carefully prepared Lifestyle Analysis could very well make the difference between a financially successful divorce settlement agreement and one that is considerably less.
Once the Lifestyle Analysis is completed, you’ll have a more accurate picture of what funds are required to maintain your standard of living. The analysis will help determine how much you and your husband spent on an average basis month-to-month and year-to-year, and you can use these calculations as a guide to help you develop a budget for yourself as a single woman/mother.
It’s not unusual during this process to discover a husband has been pursuing some kind of nefarious activity, such as selling marital assets, concealing income, collecting art, or even supporting an extramarital relationship completely unbeknownst to his wife.
Once revealed through the analysis, this dissipation of assets can be taken into consideration when the judge determines the amount of your child support and/or alimony.
Ultimately, your goal is to receive the most equitable distribution of assets possible, and a Lifestyle Analysis provides the basis for credible arguments that can demonstrate the cost of supporting the lifestyle you are accustomed to.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through email or telephone 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.