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Divorce Discovery – Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit

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Though interrogatories and requests for production of documents are an important aspect of every divorce case, the starting point for discovery in all family law cases should be the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit. Simply, a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (“DRFA”) is a form that requires full, sworn disclosure of a party’s income, net worth and financial condition.

The DRFA is important because it forces parties to think through all financial aspects of their case. Requiring a party to itemize monthly expenses can prove that one party has a need for alimony or an ability to pay it. It also forces the parties to take a good look at expenses for the children, which will be helpful in determining child support. Often, a party will even see unnecessary expenses that can be cut out. Money is often tight after a divorce, even if you are receiving alimony and/or child support, and cutting out extraneous expenses will most likely be helpful. Even if you are in a county that does not require a DRFA, the document will be helpful to you, and to your attorney, as it provides a snapshot of most of the issues that will be addressed in your divorce case.

When filling out a DRFA, double check that you are providing accurate information and be sure to keep any and all documents on which you based the information. The balance in a bank account may change often, for example, so make sure you save the bank statement upon which you based your DRFA number. Even though the DRFA itself does not ask for documents, you will likely be asked through a request for production of documents for any and all documents supporting the answers on your DRFA.

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