Filling out the Sworn Financial Statement can be one of the most complicated parts of the divorce process in Colorado.  Below are ten tips to make the process a little smoother:

  1. Calculate your income carefully.  When filling out the affidavit, be sure to include all your income correctly, including any bonuses and commissions.  One common mistake people make is not realizing whether they get paid bi-monthly or bi-weekly.  If a person gets paid bi-weekly, make sure to multiple your income on your pay stub by 26, not 24, and divide by 12 to get your average monthly income.
  2. Be sure to include all income.  This includes rent, bonuses, commissions, retirement, pensions, maintenance received from a previous marriage, etc.  If you are not sure if something should be included or not, it is a good rule of thumb, is to include and explain everything.  One sure way to lose credibility with the court would be to not disclose something properly.
  3. Be sure to also include all expenses.  Think carefully about all expenses you have and be sure to document everything.  The Court looks at expenses when allocating maintenance and occasionally when allocating debts/assets, so make sure to give the court an accurate look at your full financial picture.  It may make it easier if you take several months of bank statements and average out all expenses.
  4. Do not double dip.  Only include expenses in one section of the sworn financial statement, not multiple sections for the same expense.  For example, if your payment for health insurance comes out of you paycheck, include this information under monthly deductions from your income, and not also as a health insurance expense in a later section.
  5. Only include your income.  The income of a new spouse does not need to be disclosed on your sworn financial statement.
  6. Only include your expenses.  Again, if you are remarried, you do not disclose your new spouses expenses, just your own.  Also, if you are separated from your spouse you are divorcing, include only expenses you are actually paying for and/or what you may be paying in the near future.  Make sure to properly explain if expenses listed are anticipated and not current.
  7. Gather all appropriate documentation.  You will need to provide all documentation that is applicable to your case.  Three years of tax returns, current statements of bank accounts, current statements of retirement accounts, and current credit card (or other loan) statements are typically needed in each case.  Discuss with your attorney or review 35.1 for a complete list of all documentation that is needed if applicable to you.
  8. Don’t forget to designate separate property.  If you acquired some property, or a portion of a retirement or other asset before the marriage, make sure to include it in the separate property section!  Also, if you acquired a portion of a retirement before the marriage, get a statement of the value of the asset as close to the date of marriage as possible.  This value may likely be used to determine your separate property interest.
  9. Figure out averages.  Oftentimes you will purchase something or pay for something a couple of times a year.  Figure out what you spend on this expense over a year and divide it by twelve.  Everything listed should be based on the monthly average.
  10. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Your attorney can help guide you through the process of filling out your sworn financial statement correctly.  It is important to be as accurate as possible because this document serves as a road map to figuring out the division of assets/debts, maintenance, and child support in your divorce.  It also is an important tool to gain credibility with the Court.  If you are struggling with any portion of the sworn financial statement, don’t be afraid to ask for help!