By: Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq.
As a matter of policy, accurate, complete, and current information is essential at every stage of a litigated matrimonial matter; therefore, parties to a family action and their attorneys are obligated to cooperate in good faith and provide full and fair disclosure of pertinent financial information. Pursuant to the Rules of Court, a Family Part Case Information Statement (commonly referred to as a “CIS”) must be filed and served in all contested family action in which there is an issue in regards to custody, child support, alimony, or equitable distribution. Additionally, the Court has the authority to order that a Case Information Statement be filed in any other family action. In summary actions – with the exception of summary actions involving the support of a spouse, or civil union or domestic partner, or requests for college or post-secondary school contribution – a simpler document, the Financial Statement for Summary Support Actions, must be filed in lieu of a Case Information Statement.
The Family Part Case Information Statement is a sworn financial affidavit requiring the party’s original signature; because the completing party is required to certify that the contents of the Statement are true, it is extremely important that the Case Information Statement be as accurate as possible. If any figures are estimated on the Statement, or the requested information is not available, it is important to note this information on the Statement. Because of the wealth of financial information included in the Case Information Statement, an interrogatory requesting financial information may be answered by reference to the Statement.
The Case Information Statement requires information as to the party’s background and personal data; employment and income; monthly expenses for shelter, transportation, and personal needs; assets including real property, financial accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles, etc.; and liabilities. Additionally, each party is required to attach certain documents to his or her Case Information Statement including federal and state income tax returns, W-2 forms and 1099s, and three most-recent pay stubs. Although a party will ordinarily be hesitant to provide such private information due to privacy concerns, the Case Information Statement and all attachments, once filed, are confidential court records and are not available for public inspection.
It is essential that each party provides the other with changed or additional information that becomes available during the course of litigation. In fact, once completed and filed, the parties in the family action are under a continuing obligation to inform the Court of any material changes in the information supplied. In the event that updated information is not provided as required, the Court may prevent that party from introducing the undisclosed evidence or enter any such other order as may be appropriate under the circumstances.
It is important to note that an opponent of a “Lepis” motion – a motion for modification of alimony or child support – may not be required to provide a Case Information Statement until such time as a prima facie showing of changed circumstances has been made by the movant. Also, because it is often necessary that a party attach his or her prior Case Information Statement (filed before the entry of the order sought to be modified) to a motion for modification, it is essential that each litigant retain a copy of his or her filed Case Information Statement(s) in perpetuity.
If you have any questions in regards to alimony, child custody, child support, the Child Support Guidelines, equitable distribution, or the Family Part Case Information Statement you may wish to consult with an experienced family law attorney. This article is for information purposes only, and is neither legal advice nor the creation of an attorney client relationship.
Justin M. Smigelsky, Esq. / Timothy J. Little, P.C., 2016, All Rights Reserved
Timothy J. Little, P.C. is a full-service law firm with offices in Woodbridge and Chesterfield, New Jersey. The attorneys at Timothy J. Little, P.C. represent individuals, families and businesses throughout New Jersey including Middlesex County (Old Bridge, Woodbridge, Sayreville, East Brunswick, Spotswood, Perth Amboy, Dunellen, Colonia, Sewaren, Iselin, Avenel, Fords, Keasbey, Menlo Park, Port Reading, South Amboy, Monroe, Edison, Carteret, Cranbury, Helmetta, South River, Milltown, Highland Park, Jamesburg, Laurence Harbor), Monmouth County (Hazlet, Aberdeen, Matawan, Keyport, Cliffwood Beach, Middletown, Freehold), Union County, Ocean County, Somerset County, and Burlington County. If you have any questions or concerns regarding family law or divorce, please contact the attorneys at Timothy J. Little, P.C.