In a divorce action, the Case Information Statement (CIS) is typically due twenty (20) days after the filing of an answer or appearance. This form NJ CIS Fam Part is, in essence, a detailed financial affidavit designed to provide a snapshot of your current financial situation compared to your marital finances. In my opinion, it is the single most important document in your divorce and one that can cause quite a bit of anxiety and procrastination in clients.
The prospect of weeding through your entire financial life to summarize it onto a ten (10) page document (with 7 sections) can be tedious and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
Here are a few tips to make the process more manageable:
- Collect all your financial paperwork (and thoughts) before you sit down with the blank CIS form. At a minimum, you will need your last few tax returns, W-2 forms (or 1099s), and three (3) most recent paystubs. These documents will be attached to the final version of the CIS. Consider other evidence that would be useful to clarify your financial situation.
- Do not fudge the numbers! Report all your income, expenses, and liabilities. Take a moment to think about what your actual expenses are. You don’t want to under report them and that is very easy to do. On the other hand, if your expenses exceed your income, be prepared to explain how that is possible. This can be especially tricky for self-employed folks. Also, you have an ongoing obligation to update your CIS as your financial situation changes. Keep in mind that nothing will make you lose credibility faster than trying to hide something or lie on your CIS.
- Part F is your friend, use it. Part F (also known as “Statement of Special Problems”) can be helpful to add context to your financial picture, yet it is often overlooked, in my opinion. This is where you explain unique issues you are facing such as extra expenses due to a medical condition/treatment, the care of an elderly parent or a child with special needs, to name a few.
So, the point is that you need to take your time and put the work in to get your CIS right, It is crucial not only to getting the best results in your divorce but will also be used to decide any future requests to modify child support and/or alimony. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. Once you get as complete a draft as you possibly can, we are happy to review it and help you polish it up before it is filed.