Rieger & Fried LLP

My New York Matrimonial And Family Law Attorney Provided Me With A Statement Of Net Worth To Fill Out For My Divorce Proceeding And I Am Having Problems- Do I Need To Complete The Statement Of Net Worth? Why Is The Statement Of Net Worth Important In Divo

Once you retain an attorney in a divorce proceeding, you will be provided with a blank Statement of Net Worth form to complete. Even if you never intend to step foot into a courtroom, you will need to prepare and sign a Statement of Net Worth. If your spouse is not providing you with enough support during the divorce proceeding, you will need to attach the Statement of Net Worth to your request to the Court for temporary support. The Statement of Net Worth is a time consuming and difficult form which requires a great amount of attention and precision since it is the most frequently scrutinized document by opposing counsel and the Court. The Statement of Net Worth is also the most important document that you will prepare in your matrimonial proceeding as it is a sworn document in which you are setting forth your monthly expenses and income as well as the present value of your assets and liabilities. This document will be reviewed by opposing counsel and the Court if you choose to litigate the matter.

Fortunately, as your matrimonial attorneys, we will work together with you in order to insure that your sworn Statement of Net Worth is accurate and complete. Ultimately, you will prepare a first draft of the Statement of Net Worth on your own. Once completed, you will either fax or e-mail the form to our office. Our staff will type all of your responses on the form for my review. We will then schedule a time to meet together to review your draft Statement of Net Worth and make any necessary revisions. Most often, I will request further information and documentary proof as to your expenses, income, assets and liabilities which may require further research and work on your part. Don't be discouraged, this is a normal occurrence and is done to insure that your Statement of Net Worth is accurate and can withstand scrutiny by the opposing attorney. Prior to starting your Statement of Net Worth, please review the following five (5) most frequently asked questions pertaining to this document:

(1) WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED TO PREPARE THE STATEMENT OF NET WORTH?

The most important documents that you will need in order to begin the preparation of your Statement of Net Worth is your checking account statements for the past twelve (12) months and/or check register for the past year. The second page of your Statement of Net Worth begins the most challenging part of the document, namely your monthly expenses. If you pay certain expenses by check, such as the mortgage or utilities, your bank should provide you with your cancelled checks which are often photocopied and attached to the end of the statement in miniature size. If you don't get photocopies of your cancelled checks with your statements, request copies from the bank or review your check register which should have a list of the payees and amount of each check you wrote each month.

If you charge expenses for such items as food and clothing, you should also review the last twelve (12) months of statements while preparing your monthly expenses for the Statement of Net Worth.

You should also be prepared to provide the most recent balances of all of your checking, savings, money market accounts, brokerage account statements, life insurance cash surrender values, retirement account statements, credit card statements, student loans, mortgage and home equity line of credit statements. Therefore, it is important to provide me with your most recent statements. If you throw out your statements, you must end this practice immediately. You can resume throwing out your statements once the case is resolved if you choose. Nevertheless, for purposes of preparing your Statement of Net Worth, you can request a copy of your most recent statement from the bank and/or call the bank for your current balance if you are having difficulties securing the statement.

Finally, you will need your last three (3) paystubs (if applicable) to complete the income portion of your Statement of Net Worth in order to provide your current monthly gross income and monthly deductions in order to arrive at your monthly net income. You should also provide a copy of your last filed Federal and New York State tax return (as well as any corporate tax returns if applicable) as this document must be attached to your Statement of Net Worth.

If you don't have this documentation, do the best you can to request copies of these documents from the bank. If this is not possible, the last resort is to write on your Statement of Net Worth that the "information and documentation is in the possession of my Husband/Wife"

(2) CAN I LIST MY EXPENSES ON A WEEKLY OR ANNUAL BASIS?

Typically, the expenses listed on the Statement of Net Worth are on a monthly basis. If you only know your weekly grocery expense, multiply that number by 4.3 to arrive at the monthly expense.If you know that you spend $1,200 per year on life insurance premiums, divide that number by twelve (12) to determine the monthly expense. It is important that you consistently list your expenses and your income on a monthly basis.

(3) I AM SELF-EMPLOYED AND RECEIVE A MONTHLY DRAW AND PAY ESTIMATED TAXES- HOW DO I COMPLETE THE INCOME PORTION OF THE STATEMENT OF NET WORTH?

A large percentage of our practice focuses on representation of self-employed professionals such as doctors, lawyers, owners of closely held corporations that do not receive a W-2 form at the end of the year. In these instances, we will work closely with your business accountant to illustrate your monthly gross draw and pro-rate your estimated taxes. When you contact your accountant, please have him or her send me the past three (3) years of individual tax returns if you file as a Sole Proprietor (i.e. Schedule "C") or an "S" Corporation (i.e. Schedule "E") and/or the past three (3) years of corporate tax returns if applicable. While you are on the telephone with your accountant, please give him or her authorization to speak directly to me.

Your accountant is the best source of information to provide me with the information that I will need to complete the income portion of your Statement of Net Worth. Do the best you can to fill out the form and we will make the necessary revisions during our mutual review of the Statement of Net Worth.

(4) I RETRIEVED TWELVE (12) MONTHS OF STATEMENTS FOR MY 401(K). HOW DO I ENTER THE NECESSARY INFORMATION REQUESTED ON THE ASSET PORTION OF THE STATEMENT OF NET WORTH?

On the asset portion of the Statement of Net Worth, you must list the type of account you maintain. For example, if you have a 401(K), you will write "401(K)" on the line for type of asset. On the next line, you will list the institution that maintains the 401(K) and the last four digits of the account number. For example, "Smith Barney account number 123456". The next line will provide the name of the title holder which will be either "Husband" or "Wife". Below that line you will insert the "date of acquisition" which will be the date that you acquired the asset. While I would prefer a precise date, if you only know the month or the year of acquisition please insert that information on this line. The "date of acquisition" entry and the "source of funds" entry are the two (2) most important lines on the asset portion of your Statement of Net Worth especially if you have property that was either acquired before your marriage or by gift or inheritance or was acquired with funds received prior to marriage or by gift or inheritance as these assets may be determined to be your "separate property" and will not be distributed to your spouse. Finally, it is important to use the balance listed on the most recent statement available to you. You should not list values on assets such as automobiles, real estate, personal property or collectible items. Rather, you can simply state, "Unknown-To be determined".

(5) SHOULD I ASK MY SPOUSE FOR ASSISTANCE TO COMPLETE THE STATEMENT OF NET WORTH?

No. Your Statement of Net Worth should be done independent of your spouse. Do not ask him or her for assistance nor should you be helping him or her. If your spouse asks for your help, politely respond that you have been advised by your attorney not to work together on the document. Once we are finished working on the document and you sign your Statement of Net Worth, I will contact your spouse's attorney or your spouse if he is unrepresented. We will schedule a date to exchange your Statement of Net Worth with your spouse's attorney.

We represent individuals in abusive and deteriorating marriages who need to move on with their lives...If you have questions that need answers about your particular matter herein in New York, we invite you to call our office to schedule an appointment for a consultation.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Testimonials

Read what others are saying about us!

arrow
  • "Rieger and Fried is the finest law firm to hire. I got the best outcome any client can hope for in a custody case: sole residential and legal custody of my two children. I hired the firm four years ago; my case was a highly contested interstate divorce and custody. The delay in my case was due to the opposing party. My case was handled by Michael Fried who is the most ethical professional I have met. Michael focused on facts of law and documentation to protect my children's legal rights. Michael is efficient, prompt, and helped me for years through the most difficult time of my life. The paperwork was filed on time. The motions were carefully researched and submitted. Michael made sure that he documented all communication with opposing counsel.

    Michael was involved in the evaluation of my ex-husband's medical practice, meeting with me and the forensic accountant. Michael is highly organized and detail-oriented. He tracked down the most important financial documentation to prove my ex-husband's income in order to determine child support.

    Michael prepared me for trial and was keen about details and how to highlight my role as the primary care giver for my children. I went through 16 days of trial during which Michael moved away from his family to stay in Brooklyn in order to meet with me daily before trial to review every single detail. He emailed me in the evenings to make sure all evidence was in place.

    When emotions ran high and opposing counsel was provocative during trial, Michael maintained his calm and represented me and my children wholeheartedly. Michael is the best lawyer any client can hope for, and I am ever so grateful that he handled my case."
  • So many people tell you, “Oh, I’ve got the BEST lawyer for you.â€? Or, “This guy is the absolutely the BEST lawyer to handle your case – the BEST!â€? When in a divorce situation, you hear a lot of this. But, when you are in a situation so foreign to any experience you have ever gone through, there is so much more that is important. It is not the lawyer, who may look great and have a career of flashy litigation. It all comes down to the entire TEAM of individuals working in your best interest. It comes down to their sincere dedication to every minor detail regarding your case, and, most importantly, understanding, and reacting to your mental frame-of-reference, sensitive to the fact that a divorce is one of the most traumatic events one can go through. This level of competence is the consistent apex at which Rieger & Fried operate each and every day. Not only is a successful outcome of the litigation an ultimate priority of the relationship — through over-the-top competence — but their understanding of a client’s well-being, who is probably completely out of their depth in a divorce proceeding, that really sets Rieger & Fried apart from all other firms. Hats off to Rieger & Fried… truly the BEST. SD
  • Kieth and Michael were instrumental in the positive and fair outcome of my case. From the start, they set realistic expectations. They fought hard on — and won — the critical issues that arose during the course of my case. I am extremely happy with their services; I highly recommend them! Melissa J.
  • Michael Fried was very professional and supportive during a very difficult period in my life. He worked very hard to look out for my interests while trying to come to a fair and equitable agreement. I would highly recommend him. Cathy C.
  • Kieth Rieger navigated my divorce with the expertise of a highly skilled negotiator. He is the consummate divorce attorney: determined, effective and compassionate. Rebecca H.
  • Keith headed the team that navigated me through the most difficult time of my life. My divorce was very lengthy and uglier than most. Keith litigated brilliantly and made certain the outcome would be just and fair. Karen D.
  • The Firm Rieger & Fried handled all my family concerns with the utmost respect and professionalism. Joshua Rieger is not just a attorney with the vast knowledge of Matrimonial law and Family Law, he is in tune with his clients , and understands the important challenges they face. The Firm Rieger & Fried protected my interests from start to finish ,and are truly a cut above the rest. Jason B.
  • Kieth Rieger is a superior attorney and I was able to benefit from his ability to process large volumes of information quickly and formulate effective strategy. Kieth was extremely accommodating and sensitive when he represented my case yet firm and commanding when warranted. Soo L.
  • Let’s face it, going through a divorce can be long and nerve-wracking process during which you can be excruciatingly vulnerable. Keith proved to be the sharp, savvy, efficient, frugal and empathetic attorney I needed to be able to achieve a timely and favorable outcome. Jay E.
  • As a fellow attorney, I was aware of your reputation as a skilled and highly regarded matrimonial lawyer. Your representation of my interests in my own divorce confirmed what I had heard; I received outstanding counsel. Thank you for your advice and guidance and for an excellent result. Richard R.
  • When I considered getting a divorce, I wanted to assert my rights while at the same time making sure I wasn’t being unfair to my spouse, and preserving the good relationship I had with my children. You took the time to understand what I was hoping to achieve, and dealt fairly with me and with my spouse. I understand that matrimonial law is inherently adversarial, but I felt that you helped keep it from being more adversarial than absolutely necessary. The end result: a settlement in which both sides got what we needed, in which my parenting relationship with my ex is a productive and civil one, and in which the children are comfortable and cared for. It’s hard to be excited about a divorce, particularly one that ends up in the courts, but you made it as fair and painless as possible, and I thank you for it. Jonathan W.
  • Kieth Rieger made me realize the divorce process is not about showmanship in the courtroom but simply the facts. Eric W.
  • Despite the reputation of divorce lawyers’ being heartless and all about the money, Kieth Rieger was kind, compassionate and willing to work with me financially. When I had a problem making a payment he didn’t threaten to drop me as a client but rather came up with a fair and reasonable payment arrangement. Sharon S.
  • Kieth Rieger and Michael Fried handled my recent marriage litigation. During the entire process both were very professional and always available to answer my many questions. I would highly recommend both if you have this type of litigation. Patrick P.
  • Faced with a contentious divorce 12 years ago, I turned to Kieth Rieger to represent me. I found not only brilliant legal advice, but strong support and calming guidance that came at a critical time. All these years later I returned to him to help me write a pre-nup agreement as I begin a new life. He is a trusted professional who I have recommended many, many times. Amy D.
  • Keith Rieger , My Superlawyer, who checked his ego at the door, rolled up his sleeves, fought for me and my girls, and won in the end. If you want a smart, honest, hardworking lawyer who really cares about his clients, look no further. Lauren L.
  • Going through my divorce was very draining and emotional. Kieth helped me through this time in my life, he made me feel comfortable and at ease that everything would be fine. He and his staff treated me as if I was family. It turned out just the way he said it would. I would recommend this firm to family, friends and anyone that needs a Divorce attorney. Mr. Rieger and associates are hardworking, caring and extremely intelligent. Thank you for giving me a new beginning! Sharyn S.
  • Keith Rieger helped me tremendously during a very difficult divorce. He worked with me financially, and had great empathy for my situation. Your great legal and personal advice were invaluable. Maryanne J.
  • Kieth Rieger guided me through my divorce with incredible professionalism, insight and expertise. Kieth worked tirelessly to achieve the resolution I desired and did everything in his power to realize that outcome efficiently. I highly recommend Keith and the team at Rieger & Fried LLP. Stephen E.
  • Rieger & Fried LLP helped me every step of the way in the process of my divorce. They were adept at walking me through all of the potential options that were available for me. They were focused on resolving our marital issues fairly and with a sense of dignity rarely seen in this field of law. Brian M.