Every person who appears in a divorce or support proceeding that involves money or finances must fill out a financial statement. If your income is under $75,000.00 per year you should fill out the short form. If your income is $75,000.00 or greater, you should fill out the long form. Financial Statement Forms including schedules for self employment and rental income and instructions for filling out the forms may be found at http://www.mass.gov/courts/courtsandjudges/courts/probateandfamilycourt/forms.html#financial.
I describe financial statements as the heart and soul of divorces. This is the most important document filed in the proceeding. This document will determine child support, division of property, and alimony. Everything else, all exhibits and testimony are to convince the judge that the financial statement is accurate or inaccurate. If the statement is accurate, it means that the person was truthful and acting in good faith. If the statement is inaccurate, it could mean that the person made a mistake or it could mean the person committed perjury. Perjury is a crime and could result in a criminal case and potentially jail time. A judge should consider the accuracy of the financial statement when making an award of attorney fees. A judge can choose to ignore a false financial statement and award child support, property division, and alimony on the needs of the other party. This can result in onerous judgments. If a person fails to present an honest and accurate financial statement, they permit the judge to make any order the judge wants.