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Decades Of Litigation Experience

Question: What is a Statement of Net Worth and why is it so important in a divorce action?

| Feb 17, 2021 | Firm News |

By Jennifer L. Garber

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.