Over 30 years of experience in divorce & family law

Avoid Deception Through Familiarity With The Official Form – Net Worth: Divorce Mediation Long Island NY

The Statement of Net Worth is an official form which is set forth in the New York Rules of Court. It is compulsory and mandatory financial disclosure in all contested divorce cases. It contains schedules for expenses, income, assets and liabilities. In situations where couples are trying to settle their cases out of court, most lawyers and many mediators will suggest the exchange of the official form Statement of Net Worth before negotiations commence. Matrimonial lawyers typically use software programs, or a pre-prepared form for use in word processing program, in preparing the Statement of Net Worth. The appearance of the official form is radically changed in these products. Thus, it is always important to compare the content in these commercially prepared templates with the official form.

A couple shaking hands through a computer

Here is the reason why this is so important. I recently had a case where a party, who owned corporations, deleted the entire field of the document dedicated to corporate assets. The attorney submitted that Statement of Net Worth to me and the court with the omitted field. When the omission was brought to the attention of the court, the lawyer preparing the form claimed inadvertence and the judge accepted the explanation without any hint of outrage. The lawyer promised to correct the defect. However, I do not believe for a single moment that the omission was anything but deliberate, meant to conceal the existence of the corporate holdings of his client. Had I not been familiar with the official form, the omission would not have been noticed. This is a method of hiding assets.
The lawyer may have been able to certify the defective document as truthful, as it did not contain the entire field relating to corporations. While the ethics of doing so is highly questionable, he nearly got away with it. The lesson to be learned from this blog post is to know the contents of the official form so an unscrupulous party cannot tamper with it and eliminate fields which would reveal the existence of valuable assets.

If you are considering divorce, you can contact me at hmsternesq@gmail.com or 516- 747-2290 to discuss your concerns.

Author: H. Michael Stern, Esq. 

Divorce Mediation Long Island NY

The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.