I tell virtually every client I work with that the Case Information Statement which must be completed by anyone going through the formal divorce process in NJ is one of the most important documents to be completed – arguably, the most important document.
The recent unpublished decision of Raesky v. Brody, A-6148-08T1, decided May 26, 2010, reinforces my mantra. When completing a Case Information Statement it is important to be honest (it’s a document signed under oath with the risk of penalty for perjury), realistic, and thorough. The budget, assets and liabilities listed on this document will assist a judge in determining the issues of spousal support and the division of assets. These statements are the maps which judges follow to lead them to a final determination of these issues.
By over inflating your budget, you give the other side the ability to poke holes at your credibility. Sometimes the thinking that the higher my budget the more money I can get may backfire, as it appears to have done for Ms. Brody. Also, in the case where the budget is artificially low, the payor spouse’s credibility will be questioned. If it is the payee spouse with an inaccurately low budget, they run the risk of receiving inadequate support and thus they’re unable to meet their needs let alone maintain even a semblance of the marital standard of living.