I wanted to talk to you about using affidavits of financial information as a tool in court litigation. These are also called a financial affidavit. In Arizona every case involving child support, spousal maintenance, attorneys fees or any financial issues in a family law case, both parties are required to complete an affidavit of financial information.
An affidavit of financial information is a form that basically asks tons of questions. You have to lay out every single expense that you have and at least the one in Arizona is pretty comprehensive. It asks for everything down to pet expenses, the amount that you use for cigarettes, alcohol, recreation, entertainment, newspapers and haircuts. Not only do you have to fill out all of your expenses, you also have to fill all of your income from all sources. This is helpful especially in cases involving child support. Over the past week I had two cases and they both involved child support. In one case where my client was the father. The other party (the mother) owed my client $30,000 in back past child support. When the other party came to court she was not represented by an attorney. She pretty much broke every Command the Courtroom rule in the book. She was not prepared at all and had no direction. She was upset yelling at times at my client and yelling at the judge. She had no control, no preparation, and the extent of her case was her yelling screaming and crying for about 40 minutes.
She was saying that she could not afford to pay child support and that's why she was behind. She said she couldn't find a job because she had felony conviction so nobody would hire her. What I did was used her affidavit of financial information as a way to impeach her. On her affidavit of financial information she did list things as cigarette like cigarettes, recreation and entertainment. She has a medical marijuana card and she had admitted to the court that she buys marijuana on a regular basis. Using these things, I was able to get the point across to the judge that she was spending money on other items that might be considered luxury not necessity items.
She had the money to pay child support and she chose not to. In that case the court ended up finding the mother in contempt of court. He didn't do anything like throw her in jail but he found her in contempt and issued some other sanctions. So if any of you are ever dealing with the contempt case that affidavit of financial information is very valuable. In the other child custody case I had father list all of his expenses on the affidavit of financial information and they were very close to his income. In that case we were asking for child support and spousal maintenance. The father was saying I cannot afford it and if you looked at the affidavit it was pretty clear that maybe he couldn't afford spousal support. But it came out during testimony that father was recreationally using cocaine. He actually had to test and tested positive for that cocaine use. I think you know the court ordered him to pay spousal maintenance.
Probably because the court found that if you have money to buy cocaine then you really should be paying child support and probably can contribute towards the support of your soon-to-be ex. Those are a couple of cases where affidavits of financial information really helped me and my clients out. So if you ever have to fill out an affidavit of financial information in your case, it's really important to be as accurate as possible. Don't over inflate your numbers and don't underestimate your numbers either. I mean really be accurate because if you're not accurate it could come back to bite you in the end. Also keep in mind that if you do an affidavit of financial information and then later you have to update that financial affidavit that if there's huge inconsistencies again that could really come back to bite you in the bottom.