FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE AFFIDAVIT:
A Financial Disclosure Affidavit (“FDA”) is an official court ordered document, in which the statements are sworn to, which describes how much money a petitioner or respondent makes, and how the money is spent. A FDA is required in child support cases.
As a petitioner or respondent in a child support lawsuit in New York State, you will be required to provide the court and the other side in the litigation with a completed FDA. The FDA provides the support magistrate an in depth understanding of the petitioner or respondent financial picture. This will include income from all sources, liabilities, assets, and their net worth. An FDA is almost identical to a Statement of Net Worth (“SNW”) in a divorce case. An FDA should be fully completed, organized and presented to all parties with a litigation blue back. A family court attorney should review the FDA with you to make sure it is accurate and that you are providing all information and documentation that can assist you in your case.
The support magistrate will use the financial information of both parents to decide the amount of child support one parent will receive from the other parent. A support magistrate acts as a judge and has the power to made decisions about child support and paternity cases. If you are the respondent in a child support case and you refuse to fill out the FDA, the support magistrate can award the petitioner the amount of child support requested in the petition or an amount that the support magistrate believes your child needs without taking into consideration your income and expenses.
The child support percentages that the family court will apply are 17% for one child, 25% for two children, 29% for three children, 31% for four children and no less then 35% for five or more children. The court shall apply these percentages unless the court makes a finding that the non-custodial parents share is unjust or inappropriate.
Generally, a FDA is filed along with the following documents:
- A current and representative paycheck stub indicating overtime
- A copy of your most recently filed state and federal income tax returns
- A copy of the w-2 wage and tax statement(s) submitted with the returns
- Documentation relating to accident, life and health insurance plans. The documentation should include health care, dental care, optical care, prescription drug and other pharmaceutical and health related benefits for the child(ren) for whom support is sought, including the additional costs for adding the child(ren) to such plans.
INCOME FROM ALL SOURCES:
- Wage and Salaries as reported on the petitioner or respondents Federal and New York State income tax return.
- Employer name and business address
- Gross salary and the pay period
- Number of members in the household
- Income from the other members of the household
- Number of people in the household
- Social Security (FICA) tax
- Federal Income Tax
- New York State Tax
- NYC/Yonkers Tax
- Other Payroll deductions
The petitioner or respondent will be required to describe and list self employment income and attach most recently filed Federal and New York State income tax returns including all schedules.
A petitioner or respondent will be required to list all of the interest or dividends the party receives from any type of financial investment
- Workers Compensation
- Disability Benefits
- Unemployment Insurance Benefits
- Social Security Benefits
- Veterans Benefits
- Pension and Retirement Benefits
- Public assistance
- Food Stamps
Income From Other Sources
This could be assets that you own that do no produce any income. This could be employment “perks” and reimbursed expenses that reduce your personal expenses. This could be fringe benefits, periodic income, personal injury settlements, non-reported income, and money, goods, services provided by relatives and friends.
The Court can consider the assets of the custodial parent and/or the non-custodial parent in the award of child support. The Court will want the details of all of the accounts:
- Checking account balance, and the name of the bank
- Year and make of any cars you currently use. If you have a loan for the car, the details of the loan.
- Any residence you own
- Any non-residential real estate you own
- Any stocks
- Any bonds
- Any trailers
- Any boats
- Drivers License
- Professional licenses
- Sporting licenses
DEDUCTIONS FROM INCOME:
The Court allows certain deductions from income prior to applying the child support percentages. You will need to provide any deductions that apply to you:
- Unreimbursed employee business expenses
- Maintenance paid to a spouse, who is not a party to this action
- Maintenance paid to a spouse who is a party to this action
- Child support actually paid on behalf of children who are are the subject of this action
- Public assistance
- Food Stamps
- Supplemental Security Income
- NYC/Yonkers Income Tax
The Court can make a parent as part of their child support obligation to provide health care coverage, pay a pro-rated share of the cost of premiums to obtain or maintain health insurance coverage.
The Court will want to know if you have health insurance coverage through:
- Employer or Organization
- Privately purchased
- Child Health Plus, what is the premium?
The Court will want to know what type of health benefits does your health insurance include?
- Medical insurance
- Dental insurance
- Prescription Drugs
- Optical insurance
The Court will want to know what other type of health related benefits you have?
What is the cost of the insurance, and how is it paid.
Who else is cover under your insurance plan?
What is the policy number?
Does the policy include your children? If yes, how much does it cost for each type of benefit?
Are there child care expenses? If yes, who is the child care provider and the average number of hours of child care incurred per week.
The Court can make a parent as part of their child support obligation to pay a pro-rated share of child care expenses. However, the custodial parent must be either in school to learn skills to work or applying for jobs.
What are the child’s educational needs, and expenses?
What life insurance policies do you own. What is the name of the insurer? Who are the beneficiary/beneficiaries?
What accident insurance policies do you own? What is the name of the insurer? Who are the beneficiary/beneficiaries?
The court can direct a parent to purchase and maintain life and/or accident insurance benefits or assign benefits on existing policies for the benefit of your children.
Variance from the Child Support Percentages:
The Family Court Act allows the Court to order child support different from the percentages if the Court finds that the child support based upon the percentages would be unjust or inappropriate due to the following factors:
- The financial resources of the custodial parent, and the non-custodial parent, and those of the subject child
- The physical and economical health of the child and his or her special needs and aptitudes
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage or household never been dissolved
- The tax consequences to the parties
- The non-monetary contributions that the parents will make towards the care and well being of the subject child
- The educations needs of either parent
- A determination that the gross income of one parent is substantially less then the other parent’s gross income
- The needs of the children of the non-custodial parent for whom the non-custodial parent is providing support who are not subject to the instant child support proceeding and whose support has not been deducted from income, and the financial sources of any person obligated to support such children, provided however that these factors apply only if the resources available to support such child are less then the resources available to support the children who are subject to the instant action.
- Provided that the child is non on public assistance, 1) extraordinary expenses incurred by the non-custodial parent in the exercising visitation, or 2) expenses incurred by the non-custodial parent in extending visitation provided that the custodial parents expenses are substantially reduced as a result thereof.
- Any other facts that the Court determines are relevant in each case
The FDA allows the petitioner or respondent to detail any other factors that he or she believes that the court should consider. It is imperative that the petitioner or respondent attach any related documents to the FDA as well.
The Family Court is not obligated to consider the petitioner or respondents expenses in determining child support. However, if the Court decides to vary from the percentages, your expenses may be considered. The expenses that are to be considered, must be expenses that you incur on a regular basis. The expenses listed should be monthly.
- Rent or mortgage payment
- Mortgage interest and amortization
- Realty taxes (if not included in mortgage payment)
- Insurance on realty
- Gas bill
- Electric bill
- Water bill
- Telephone bill
- Cable bill
- Garbage collection
- Household repairs
- Charge accounts
- Car maintenance
- Car insurance and fees
- Car loan
- Public transportation
- Life insurance
- Health insurance
- Clothing for the individual
- Clothing for others
- Laundry and dry cleaning
- Education and tuition
- Child care
- Union dues (mandatory)
- Miscellaneous personal expenses
- Other expenses
LIABILITIES, LOANS AND DEBTS:
The Family Court is not obligated to consider the petitioner or respondent’s liabilities, loans and debts. The Family Court will want to know the creditor, the purpose, the date incurred, the total balance due, and the monthly payment.
The petitioner or respondent will want to review the FDA with his or her attorney to make sure it is accurate and truthful. It is signed under oath, attesting to its truth and accuracy. This will need to be signed in front of a notary public.
Spodek Law Group P.C. is a divorce law firm in New York City.