FIVE key things to know about the Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit DRFA.

A Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit is often called a DRFA. The DRFA is a financial statement under oath.  That means that you will have to sign your DRFA in front of a notary stating that it is a true and accurate report of your financial condition.

When is a DRFA required? A DRFA is required for Gwinnett county divorce, Gwinnett County child support modification and custody modifications because they typically include a recalculation of child support.  The same is true for a Barrow County Divorce, or child support modification.  If you have been sued for a child support modification, you will have to complete a new DRFA even if you filed a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit in your prior divorce case.  The filing of the DRFA is required by the Georgia Uniform Superior Court Rules.

You can find the Gwinnett County Superior Court preferred DRFA Form online at https://www.gwinnettcourts.com/superior/forms-and-documents, or your attorney can provide you with a DRFA in Word or Excel.  The DRFA is requires disclosure of monthly income and expenses, has a section for listing all assets and debts, like bank accounts, real estate, business assets, and credit cards.

If you are completing a Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit for your Georgia family law case, there are five key things you need to know before submitting your DRFA to the court:

1.    You are responsible for completing the DRFA truthfully and accurately.  Your attorney can ask you questions if there is an obvious mistake, but you are the person responsible for providing the truthful information.  You should carefully review your affidavit before submitting it. You don’t want an accidental oversight to make you look dishonest on the stand if you have to testify about your finances.  Do not forget to list all of your bank accounts, valuable assets and if you own your own business, list the business as an asset even if you don’t know the value of the business.

2.    Gross and Net Income may not be what you think they are.  Be sure you understand the differences between gross monthly income and net monthly income.  Your gross monthly income is the amount you are paid before deducting insurance, taxes and other deductions. If you are paid as a 1099 contractor or are self employed, then your gross income is calculated by subtracting your real business expenses from your revenue. Your net income is the amount you are paid after deducting only state taxes, federal taxes and FICA.  Net income for the DRFA does not take into account deductions for insurance and retirement. Be sure to ask your attorney to review your gross and net income on the DRFA. Don’t forget to list bonus income, deferred income, income from side jobs, disability payments, etc.

3.    The DRFA provides a snapshot of your assets and liabilities on the day you complete it.  It will change over time, so make sure it is accurate as of the day you complete and sign it.  For example, since you have to list the balance in every bank account, pick one day and check all the balances on the same day.  Your loan and credit card account balances are typically changing from day to day too, so check and list all the account balances on the same day.

4.    You can file a new DRFA. If your financial situation changes, be sure to let your attorney know. You may need to file a new DRFA. Ask you attorney if you have a change in circumstances. 

5.    The “separate asset” columns only matter in a divorce. If you are in a legitimation case, child custody modification, or other modification, you can ignore the separate asset columns.  If you are divorcing, know the difference between a separate asset and a marital asset.  When completing the asset section of the DRFA, keep in mind that the column for separate asset does not refer to whose name is on the account. Put simply, an asset is only “separate” if it was owned prior to the marriage or inherited or received by gift during the marriage.  Under Georgia law, assets that are gained during the marriage due to one or both parties’ efforts are “marital” regardless of the name on the account.  So, don’t check the box for separate just because your name is the only name on an asset.  Check with you lawyer for these columns.