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Financial Statement Assumptions

Some thoughts about Financial Statements:  The Form 89 financial statement is divided into major sections – income, expenses and property.  Generally, income and property pose few conceptual problems.  Parties might disagree with values of assets or with characterization of income, but there little room for assumptions (ie, you would not include a Ferrari in section 2 of Part 3 (Vehicles) premised on “IF I had a Ferrari, THEN I would have a Ferrari”).The same cannot be said for the expense section of the Form 89, which is rife with assumptions.  It is not clear on the face of the document what, exactly, is called for.  Is one being asked to say what one’s expenses have been for the past year?  What one expects them to be in the coming year?  What they will be if one gets what one is proposing that the court order, or what one will be paying if the other party is successful?  Does one calculate expenses on the most one believes one should be spending or the least?   The answer to all of these questions is, unfortunately, yes.Because there is so much grey in the Financial Statement, it is important that one clarifies for the court any assumptions and decisions that you make.  If one is filling out the document based upon what one expects to pay if one receives what one is seeking, that assumption should be set out in affidavit material and brought to the attention of any judge hearing a related matter.  Clarifying affidavits are very helpful for the court and helps them to see exactly what logic lies behind the income and expense calculations you or your counsel may be promoting.

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