Prior to October 1st, 2010, the Maryland Child Support Guidelines had not been amended for 22 years. According to the Department of Family Administration website, the long form financial statement that’s used in the majority of divorce cases was last revised in 2001. Is it time for a change?
Judges and Masters, who are under immense pressure to make equitable, life-changing rulings for Maryland families, rely on the accuracy of these financial statements to help them make their decisions. I have witnessed the personal frustration incurred by these decision-makers; they consistently have to weed through the forms line-by-line and then are referred to a number of footnotes that attempt to explain unusual items or items not included in the pro-forma.
The economy, and the ways in which consumers pay their bills have changed dramatically over the last ten years. The statements in their current form have a number of missing expense items, archaic expense descriptions, and inadequate instructions to assure items are listed properly. I would offer the following list of enhancements, to start:
- Separate lines for HELOCs, 2nd mortgages, or 3rd mortgages
- Additional line for Telephone/Internet/Cable Bundles
- Line items for Dental, Vision, Disability,and Long-term care insurance
- Additional lines for several credit cards with associated credit limits
- Delineation between retirement and non-retirement investments
There should also be instructions to prevent the doubling-up of medical expenses and over-withholding of payroll taxes.
Wouldn’t it be helpful to all parties to see the respective spouse’s budgets, assets, and liabilities side-by-side so that a comparison could be made instantaneously?
Faggio Financial has enhanced its divorce financial planning services and developed a program that converts the financial statements into a comparative format.
Email, or call John now at 410-988-7333 to have your Maryland divorce financial statements accurately prepared in a manner that may lead to a more positive result in your divorce proceedings.