Answer: Once you file for divorce, one of the very first financial disclosures you will have to complete is the Statement of Net Worth. A Statement of Net Worth is compulsory financial disclosure in any matrimonial action. See DRL § 236; 22 NYCRR 202.16. A Statement of Net Worth is a sworn document (must be notarized) setting forth you and your spouse’s assets, income, debts, and liabilities. With full and fair disclosure by both parties, this Statement provides a complete picture of the financial landscape of the marriage, and gives the Court and the parties an idea of what may be subject to Equitable Distribution in the divorce action. Although it can be daunting to fill out, accuracy and detail are critical from the outset, as parties that purposefully omit critical information may be penalized for violating DRL § 236B(4) and/or Judiciary Law § 753 (“A court of record has power to punish, by fine and imprisonment, or either, a neglect or violation of duty, or other misconduct, by which a right or remedy of a party to a civil action or special proceeding, pending in the court may be defeated, impaired, impeded, or prejudiced.”). The Statement of Net Worth also provides a frame work for the discovery phase of the litigation, telling parties and attorneys what records to demand (or subpoena) and what issues may exist. Statements of Net Worth are also a critical component of validating post-nuptial agreements, which require a baseline financial disclosure between the parties. The above examples are only some the reasons that the importance of a Statement of Net Worth cannot be understated.
A fillable version of a Statement of Net Worth can be found on the Supreme Court’s website at: http://ww2.nycourts.gov/divorce/forms.shtml.