The Georgia Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit
A Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (“DRFA”) is a sworn statement concerning one’s finances that is required in certain legal proceedings under Georgia’s Uniform Superior Court Rule 24.2. More specifically, a DRFA is required in any divorce action where a party is seeking child support or alimony, any action where a party is seeking to modify child support or alimony, or any action where a party is requesting attorney’s fees. In these instances, a party must list their income, expenses, assets, and all other important financial information. This information is crucial because it will be reviewed by the court and any opposing party, and it will ultimately play a large role in determining a case’s outcome.
Because a DRFA is a sworn statement, including incorrect information on it can result in punishment for the offender. It does not matter whether the incorrect information was listed intentionally or unintentionally. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance to avoid making mistakes while filling out a DRFA. The following is a list of five common mistakes that one should avoid while filling out their DRFA:
Mistake 1: Signing the DRFA Without a Notary Present.
When you have finished filling out the DRFA, it is important to remember not to sign it. Some people tend to sign the document immediately afterward without thinking. However, you need to wait to sign it in the presence of a notary. Once you reach out and find a notary, they will verify your identity, serve as a witness to your signature, and then sign the DRFA themselves.
Mistake 2: Omitting Relevant Information.
Remember, the DRFA is meant to serve as a complete report of your financial situation. By not including relevant information, you are defeating the purpose of the DRFA which could cast you in a negative light in the eyes of a court. Relevant information includes everything from your income, debts, and assets, to more trivial expenses like your monthly grocery and utility bills. Additionally, you must be sure to include non-marital separate property such as property acquired before marriage or property received through inheritance.
To help prevent you from accidentally omitting relevant information, it is a good idea to put the abbreviation “N/A” (which stands for “Not Applicable”) in each blank that does not apply to you. Not only does this help you by keeping track of what parts of the DRFA you have completed, but it also shows the court and the opposing party that you have taken the time to consider each section.
Mistake 3: Listing False or Misleading Information.
Even worse than omitting information is putting incorrect information. As previously mentioned, the DRFA is a sworn statement made to the court. In addition to putting you at risk of receiving a court-ordered punishment, being dishonest on the DRFA could be catastrophic to your divorce case. The opposing party’s attorney can attack your credibility in front of the court, thus making it more difficult for you to obtain a favorable outcome from the proceedings.
Listing false or misleading information can be done in a variety of ways. Some individuals are tempted to exaggerate their expenses, such as their monthly grocery bills or money given as gifts or charity. Others may try to limit how much their income is or the value of their assets. Regardless of how this information is misleading, it is deceitful and will ultimately do more harm than good. It is a tremendously better, and safer, option to be completely open and honest on your DRFA.
Mistake 4: Rushing Through the DRFA.
The DRFA is a document that is meant to be completed promptly but not quickly. Simply rushing to get it done as quickly as possible may cause you as much trouble as listing false or misleading information. Be sure to avoid speculating or guessing about your financial information. Take the time to gather proof of what your financial situation is. See In the Interest of R.F., 295 Ga. App. 739, 673 S.E.2d 108 (2009). This proof may come in the form of receipts, bank statements, bills, or any other financial documents. By doing so, you can be sure that the information you list on the DRFA is accurate. Plus, this may later save you from having to take the time to revise your DRFA. Also, once these financial documents are gathered, you should organize them and keep them in a safe place. They can be extremely helpful for you if the opposing party’s attorney tries to challenge you and your calculations later in court.
While it is possible to make other mistakes while filling out a DRFA, the ones mentioned above are among the most common. If at any point and time you feel confused or have a question, it is recommended that you contact your attorney so that they can clarify. It is also suggested that you review your DRFA with your attorney once it is completed. By taking these precautionary measures, you can avoid a time-consuming and potentially harmful mistake on your DRFA.
Obtaining assist with the Georgia Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit
Out Georgia uncontested divorce and family law attorneys have helped file hundreds of Georgia Domestic Relations Financial Affidavits in the Georgia Superior Courts. If you need help with your uncontested divorce case or just have questions about the DRFA and filing process, call us at 770-609-1247 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. Contact >