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If you have divorce questions

Lifestyle Analysis

If you are in the early stages of the Georgia divorce process, especially if you have consulted with an Atlanta divorce attorney, it is very likely that you have been advised you must complete a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA) as a part of the divorce process in Georgia. Basically, Georgia law requires parties to domestic relations actions, such as divorce, child custody and paternity actions to complete a financial affidavit outlining all of their financial assets, liabilities, income and expenses. Basically, a DRFA resembles a very detailed budget.

DRFAs are critical to the divorce process in Georgia, not only because they are required by law, but because they provide each party with the details of the other parties financial circumstances. This way, both parties are fully aware of the financial needs and ability to pay of the opposing party for the purposes of negotiating matters such as child support, alimony and the division of marital assets. Although DRFAs are critical for the divorce process in Georgia, these affidavits are often difficult for many divorcing individuals to complete accurately because of the large amount of information and level of detail they require. Thus, many individuals estimate or guess when they are unsure of the exact amount place in a certain category.

Unfortunately, estimating or guessing when completing a DRFA may prove disadvantageous because omissions or errors, if left uncorrected, may have a significant impact on the financial outcome of your divorce. Many divorce attorneys provide assistance to clients in completing their DRFA. However, retaining a financial planner or certified accountant to complete a life style analysis for you may be a better way to ensure you DRFA is completed correctly, and you know what your standard of living was during marriage and how that standard will be affected by divorce.

What is a Lifestyle Analysis?

In a nutshell, a lifestyle analysis establishes what your standard of living was during the marriage. For example, a lifestyle analysis may reconstruct what your day-to-day living expenses were during the marriage and what you and your spouse's spending habits were during the marriage. Generally, a lifestyle analysis will focus on the last few years of marriage, and includes an analysis of:

  • financial statements, such as bank, investment, and credit card statements;

  • personal and business income tax returns;

  • recurring expenses such as clothing, food, housing, utilities, entertainment, and travel;

  • non-recurring expenses;

  • any financial discrepancies; and,

  • credit reports

Why should I have a lifestyle analysis prepared?

As mentioned above, a lifestyle analysis may be particularly useful in completing a DRFA. Additionally, having a lifestyle analysis will give you a more accurate idea of the income you will need to maintain your standard of living post-divorce, which can be particularly useful in determining the amount of alimony a spouse should seek in divorce settlement negations or proving to the court how much alimony should be awarded. Having a lifestyle analysis may also be a very useful tool in uncovering assets that the other spouse may be attempting to hide or marital funds that the other spouse has been dissipating on a girlfriend or boyfriend, because of the comprehensive investigation of spending habits and day-to-day living expenses that a lifestyle analysis involves. Speak with a Georgia divorce attorney and along with a financial advisor or account to learn more regarding having a financial analysis prepared for your Georgia divorce.


Divorce Process
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