Signing a Deed

To commence court proceedings for financial matters, one of the documents you need to complete and file is a Financial Statement.

If we are acting for you, we will walk you through completing the Financial Statement as it can be a daunting document and often people are confused by some questions.

It is important that you are as accurate as possible when completing the form for reasons including:

(a). You need to swear/affirm an Affidavit as to the truth of its contents. If your case goes to a hearing, you may find yourself in the witness box being asked questions about your Financial Statement and if you have accidentally made mistakes, it may cause the Judge to think that you are an unreliable witness. So, when the evidence given by you and your spouse differs, the Judge may prefer your spouse’s evidence. If you deliberately put in false information it could result in a criminal charge.

(b). You are required by the court to make full and frank financial disclosure (see Rule 13.04 of the Family Court Rules 2001 or Rule 24.03 of the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001). Non disclosure could result in a costs order being made against you. If the non disclosure is not discovered until after Orders have been made, then the Orders could be overturned.

This article makes some comments on completing the Financial Statement (a more comprehensive guide is available from the Federal Circuit Courts’ website):

General Comments

  1. You complete the form based on your present circumstances, not based on your circumstances at an earlier date, such as separation.
  2. If you receive income or pay an expense monthly, then multiply the figure by 12 and then divide it by 52 (rather than dividing the monthly payment by 4).
  3. All questions should be answered. The following codes should be inserted where applicable NK (not known), NA (not applicable), NIL (zero balance or value) or E (inserted before an amount where it is an estimate).
  4. You must file a new Financial Statement if your financial circumstances change significantly over the course of your matter.
  5. The questions regarding assets and liabilities ask for the value of your share rather than the whole value or liability of the item. So, if you jointly own an asset worth $500,000.00 with another person, record the value of your share as $250,000.00.

Specific Comments

  1. Part B is completed once you have finished filling in the form. It is a summary of the totals from each section.
  2. Part D requires you to disclose your weekly income details. Often confused are the following questions:
    – Question 9: this is not just your base income. You need to include all income such as overtime, loading, bonuses, etc.
    – Question 10: most people receive interest from savings accounts. It may only be a minimal amount, but this needs to be included.
    – Question 14: benefits from employment/business include employer paid superannuation, a car or a mobile phone.
    – Question 15: other income includes board, income received from a trust, or workers compensation payments. Any lump sums received in the last 12 months as to one of the above or any other type of income is to be included in this section as a weekly figure.
  3. Part F is where you list the expenses paid by other persons on your behalf. For example, you would include private health insurance if someone pays this on your behalf.
  4. Part G is your weekly personal expenditure. Often confused are the following questions:
    – Question 20: only complete this question if you make personal contributions to your super fund over and above what your employer pays.
    – Question 32: this is the total of the items in Part N (see later in this guide). If your case is for property settlement only (ie, no spousal maintenance or child support claim), you do not need to complete Part N.
  5. At Part I list the value of your share in all items of property that you have an interest in. Often confused are the following questions:
    – Question 39: the value to insert in the box is your share of the ‘surrender value’ of the life insurance policy (if there is a surrender value), not what you are insured for.
    – Question 42: household contents are taken at second hand value, not what the cost would be to replace all of your contents or what your contents are insured for.
  6. At Part L detail any financial resources you have an interest in for example, if you expect to receive money as a result of a personal injury claim.
  7. Part N is only required to be completed where there is a claim for spousal maintenance or child support.

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