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The question divorce attorneys get asked more often than any other – believe it or not – is how to properly complete the financial form.  The financial form, or as we call it in R.I. a “DR-6”, is the mandatory form that you must complete, sign, and notarize if you want to file a Complaint for Divorce, a Counterclaim for Divorce, any Motion involving child support in any way, a custody Motion, a relocation Motion, if you wish to place a hex on your landlord, any a long list of other stuff.  Everyone who has to file a financial form hates it.  Hating the DR-6 financial form is literally the only thing everyone in the R.I. Family Court can agree on.

So, what is the right way to complete this thing?  And why is it obnoxiously thorough?

Section 1 (personal information and Section 2 (health insurance) are straightforward enough.

Section 3 is just a place to record the sums you come up with when you are finished.  Leave it be for now.

Section 4 deals with income received by you, the poor soul who has to fill out this form.  For Section 4 you should utilize only the “monthly” column even though literally no one gets paid monthly.  Why?  Who knows!  Trump is President.  The Earth is flat.  Nothing makes sense.  If you are paid weekly, simply take your gross pay for one normal / routine week of work and multiply that by 4.3 (the Family Court insists there are 4.3 weeks in a month).  Put that figure into the monthly column for 4(a).  If you are paid bi-weekly, take the gross pay from your pay stub, divide it by two and then multiply that number by 4.3.  Place that number in the monthly column for 4(a).  Be sure to use a typical work week pay stub to do this.  Do not use the figures from a week you worked lots of overtime (if overtime is not usually demanded of you); do not use a pay stub showing you only worked a few days because you had returned from vacation.  Just a nice, normal, Ides-of-March grind it out week of work.  If your weekly income varies wildly use last year’s w-2 or your year to date.  The rest of Section 4 lists an exhaustive list of potential income sources.  Most will not apply to you but be sure to scribble in your honest, best-faith estimate for what you make in each category.

Section 5 is where this document get its reputation.  It is a three page sixty-seven point checklist of your expenses.  The next question you are going to ask is how accurate you have to be here, or why it matters.  Certainly your case will not hinge on how much you spend at CVS.  Of course.  But you must remember throughout completing the chore that is this financial form that you will sign and notarize this document stating that it is true to the best of your knowledge.  And no matter what shape or form your case takes, your credibility will be critical throughout.  So as onerous as this task is take it seriously.  In fact, take it more seriously than it deserves.  Not because it is inherently important, but because your credibility is at stake.  Do you have to know what you pay in life insurance premiums to the penny?  No.  But if you drink alcohol and you do not list an expense for alcohol / tobacco, expect a more zealous attorney to pick up on this and use it.  Filling this form out is sublime, ridiculous, and necessary.  Note that Section 5 part 9 involves deductions from your pay check and you should use the same method as above to properly calculate the monthly figure even though your pay check is weekly or bi-weekly.  Also it is important to note that this financial form is actually an exact snapshot of your situation in the exact moment you complete, sign, and notarize.  So, for example, if you are filling this form out on a Wednesday and you plan to get a kitten for your family on Friday but haven’t bought the cat yet DO NOT list an expense for “pet food / care”.  Only list your expenses as they exist at the moment you complete the DR-6.

Next, in section 6, you list all of your assets.  For your real estate and vehicle you do not need an appraisal to determine the fair market value; a bit of online research should be sufficient to place you in a comfortable range of these assets.  For your retirement, investments, and bank accounts however you would be wise to check the balances and be as accurate as the records allow.  Note that for life insurance, term life policies do not have a surrender cash value, they simply cover you for a certain amount of time / until a certain age.  Term life policies are not marital assets.  Whole life policies do have a surrender cash value and are marital assets.

Even if your case has nothing to do with a certain asset be careful how you value it. on your financial form.

In section 7 you list your debts.  Like your accounts and investments cross-reference your records for the sake of accuracy.

You can now sign, notarize, and file this document confidently.

Now that you have all the correct numbers in the correct places you just have to have one last swig of scotch, and do all your tallies.  Then record the sums in Section 3 for each part.

Now, you just read a blog entry about a financial form.  What is wrong with you!?!

n.b. if you receive income from real estate you rent out in part or in whole you must continue on to Schedule A on pg. 9, work through the calculation, and then add the net income received from that asset up in section 4 (income).

You’re welcome.

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