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Columbia Family & Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Alimony > Top Ten Tips for Filling out your Long Form Financial Statement

Top Ten Tips for Filling out your Long Form Financial Statement

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If you are involved in a divorce case in which alimony (and possibly child support) is being sought, you may be required to fill out something called a Long Form Financial Statement.  While the required form is set forth in Maryland Family Law Subsection 9-203, there is no guidance provided as to how best to go about completing that form.  However, if you follow the tips below, you will insure that your financial statement is completed to the best of your ability.


  1. Talk to your lawyer before you start completing the form.  You will likely have questions about your financial statement, and it is best to ask those questions before you start doing the work.  It is a lot easier to do it right the first time than to have to revise work that is mistakenly done.
  2. Take your time.  This document will ultimately be used to show what your monthly expenses are, which will be extremely important in an alimony (or child support) determination.
  3. Don’t double dip.  It is important that you don’t include the same expense in more than one category.  For example, there is a category for “credit cards.”  If you put items on a credit card but pay the balance off each month, you should not include those items in separate categories, and then also include them in a credit card category, as they would be counted twice.
  4. Be precise.  The easiest way to spot a phony financial statement is to see one that has rounded numbers.  If your mortgage payment is $2,788.58 cents, put that number down instead of rounding to $3,000.00.
  5. Remember the small stuff.  You may pay $15.99 per month for a Netflix subscription and think expenses like that are not worth adding.  However, all those small expenses add up.
  6. Keep in mind that not all expenses occur monthly.  Don’t forget about annual expenses, or even less often expenses.  If you replace one major appliance in your home every two years, you don’t include the entire cost, but you may want to amortize that cost out and include a smaller portion each month.  Otherwise, your financial statement will represent what you spend in a normal month, but not what you actually spend in some months.
  7. Use footnotes.  You don’t want your financial statement to be a puzzle for the opposing side.  The goal is to be able to show what your actual expenses are.  If you have an expense that doesn’t cleanly fit into a category, put it in “other” and use a footnote to explain the expense.
  8. Take the oath seriously.  You are required to sign this document under oath—that means something in court.  While mistakes may happen, intentional misrepresentations will hurt you.
  9. Remember to amend.  You can and should amend your financial statement when material changes occur.  If you no longer have a significant expense, or, you undertake a new significant expense, make sure to file an amended financial statement.  You want this document to be current to make it easier on the court.
  10. Be able to explain.  There is no right or wrong way to determine estimates for items like food.  Perhaps you shop at multiple different stores.  Perhaps you sometimes use cash.  Maybe you buy groceries at a store where you buy other things and don’t keep the itemized receipts.  As long as you can explain how you arrived at the number you used and show the backup evidence as support for same, you should avoid most serious pitfalls.
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