Canada: How a Well-Executed Form F8 Financial Statement Can Help Your Family Law Case in British Columbia
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A solid financial statement of Form F8 is one of the most important documents in your British Columbia family law case. A properly completed financial statement can greatly improve the status of your case and help move your legal case forward to a speedy resolution.
A poorly prepared financial statement can not only undermine the goals of your case, it can even be seen as dishonest. However, creating a strong financial state can seem like an overwhelming undertaking, especially during the emotional process of separation or divorce.
The assistance of an experienced family law attorney or legal professional can not only facilitate the process, but also ensure that you end up with an accurate financial statement and providing the best possible support for your case.
What is an F8 form financial statement and what is it used for?
In the context of family law in British Columbia, a financial statement is an affidavit that provides an overview of a party’s financial situation showing their income, expenses, assets and debts. It is required by both the Provincial Court and the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
In most cases, a financial statement is a required document in the court process, however, even if you choose to resolve your family matter outside of court through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as mediation or arbitration is still a valuable tool. to achieve a fair settlement.
Breakdown of the financial statement
The best way to approach a financial statement is to break it down and focus on one section at a time. The main elements of the financial statement relate to the income, expenses, assets and debts of a party.
In most cases, Provincial Court and Supreme Court financial statements require the following:
- Your T1 personal income tax returns for the last 3 tax years
- Your notices of assessment for the last three tax years
- If you are an employee, your three most recent pay stubs
If you are a business owner, you may need additional documents such as your tax returns and financial statements.
Customers often find listing their expenses the most difficult part of completing a financial statement. At the best of times, it’s difficult to keep track of your spending habits, and that stress is naturally exacerbated when you go through a separation or divorce.
You will need to report your monthly or annual housing, childcare and personal expenses. If you don’t know how much you’re spending in each category, start by looking at your monthly bank or credit card statements.
Assets and debts
You will be asked to list your assets and debts, along with their current values. A good approach is to review your property assessment notices, bank statements, investment accounts, and other documents.
Here are some common assets and debts that should be listed.
- Bank and investment accounts
- RRSPs and pensions
- Credit card
- Credit lines
The pitfalls of a poorly constructed financial statement
- It can damage your credibility. First of all, a financial statement is an affidavit under oath. This means that you have to be truthful and precise when filling it out. A poorly constructed financial statement could undermine your credibility down the road.
- This can increase your legal costs. An inaccurate or poorly written financial statement can lead to problems later. It’s better to prepare a complete, accurate, and honest financial statement up front, rather than having to go back and explain the discrepancies, identify missing information, or in some cases redo everything.
- This can jeopardize your settlement. Full, honest and accurate financial disclosure is essential in family law. If you fail to disclose significant income or assets, a court may find any agreement between you and your ex-partner to be very unfair and set it aside.
Final tips for completing a financial statement
- Take it one step at a time. Filling out a financial statement doesn’t have to be stressful. Take it step by step, and if you need advice or help, contact a legal professional. Paralegals and paralegals work under the supervision of the lawyer and are trained to help with these types of tasks.
- Don’t forget the story. The financial statement is an affidavit, which means you can include narrative elements to provide context. This is useful if your expenses are particularly high or low, or if you think your situation is likely to change significantly in the near future.
- Think critically. Once you’ve finished a draft, take a look at it and ask yourself if it makes sense. Do your expenses far exceed your income? If so, is there an explanation for how the deficit is covered? If the financial statement doesn’t make sense, you might be forgetting something.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.
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