Every party in every Georgia divorce case, whether contested or not, must complete a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA). A DRFA is mandated by Georgia Superior Court Rule 24.2. The DRFA outlines the current financial situation of the parties in a domestic proceeding. The courts use the DRFA to decide domestic matters including: child support, alimony, property division, attorney’s fees, and modifications to any of the above. The DRFA is an affidavit, meaning it is given under oath. View a an example of a Georgia DRFA here.
How Do I Complete a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA)?
The Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA) may be completed electronically or it can be handwritten. Do not leave any blank spaces on the form. Complete all fields and use “n/a” if a field is not applicable. The DRFA will require a detailed outline of all assets, income, expenses and debts. Limit these figures to what can be proven via receipts, bank statements, or other financial documents.
All Assets, Expenses and Debts Should be Listed in the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA)
Assets that are not marital property, meaning property acquired before the marriage, will need to be included as well as any income or assets that the other spouse may not be aware of. Income should be the net income before any monthly deductions or payments are taken out. Interest from investments should also be included as monthly income. Limit these figures to what can be proven via receipts, bank statements, or other financial documents.
Expenses should be limited to what is actually spent. If you do not dine out or take vacations, do not list these items as expenses. Small business owners who use their business to pay personal expenses must take extra care to sort out any questionable distribution of income. It is acceptable to use your best estimate to fill in the “Expenses” section of the DRFA. However, you should begin collecting receipts for these items going forward, in case the figures are challenged.
The cost of health insurance for the children is specifically requested on the DRFA. This is a monthly expense but you may not list the full cost of your monthly premium if that includes insurance for yourself. If your monthly premium is a lump sum for both you and your children, your office manager or administrator will be able to help you find out the sole cost of the children’s insurance.
Debts are any other expenses not already mentioned on the How Do I Complete a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA). This could include student loans, payments for back taxes, credit card payments, and any other outstanding money that is owed. The “monthly payment” should be the full monthly payment, even if you are not currently making full payments.
Honesty is Paramount in Completing the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA)
The most important thing to remember when filling out your How Do I Complete a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA) is to be honest. Any discrepancies or attempts to hide assets will damage the case and credibility with the court. All income must be accounted for, including: tips, cash paid for side jobs, and any income not reflected on tax returns. Similarly, expenses and debts should not be overinflated in effort to mislead. All of the figures supplied on a DRFA can be easily confirmed. The DRFA is very likely to be used in cross-examination if the case goes to trial so do not open yourself up to liability by misrepresenting income or assets. The DRFA is very time consuming but it is an important document that should be given your full attention.
A Notary is Required for the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA)
Do not sign the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA) once completed unless there is a notary present. The signing of the form must be done in the presence of a notary. The notary will first confirm your identity by checking your identification and then you may sign the DRFA. Attach two current paystubs to the DRFA and turn it into your attorney as soon as possible.
When is the How Do I Complete a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA) Filed?
In most cases, your attorney will file the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA) on your behalf. However, if you are pro se (represent yourself without an attorney) you will file the DRFA yourself. The DRFA must be filed with the Clerk of Court at least fifteen (15) days prior to the hearing or trial. The court recognizes emergency actions and allows for a delay in filing during an emergency situation. “Emergency situations” typically refers to the possibility of domestic violence, abuse, or kidnapping.
Your Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA) will be a central document in your divorce case. It is recommended that you take time to go over it in full with your attorney before it is filed with the court. Any discrepancy or omission has the potential to undermine your case. When filling out your DFRA, be thoughtful, honest, listen to the advice of your attorney, and you will find your divorce proceeding to be much less stressful.
If you are facing divorce and have questions about the process, including the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit (DRFA), call us at 770-609-1247 to discuss how we can assist you in your case.