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Product ID: 406803EAU
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Overview of Financial Records for Paralegals: Obtaining and Understanding the Information

OnDemand Webinar (113 minutes)

Financial statements can be difficult to understand at times, after this overview, you will have a better understanding on how to recognize and read them.Many offices today make use of paralegals or legal assistants not only in preparing documents but in reviewing them. Many attorneys rely on elementary representations of income such as the income stated on an income tax return for determining the available funds for child support and maintenance. In many cases, this may be sufficient, such as that of a W-2 wage earner. However, in those cases where a client's spouse owns their own business eliciting the true available funds for child support and maintenance can be more complicated. This topic is designed to help you understand various options in securing information, interpreting that information and making use of it to determine the actual funds available for support. A lack of understanding of how to interpret financial documents and tax returns can lose your client a great deal of money and expose the attorney to a grievance process or even a malpractice suit. The information focuses on basic ideas which are available to the practitioner without the assistance of experts.


David P. Kirsh, Berger Schatz


Purposes of Securing the Financial Records (i.e., What Are Your Goals)

• Determining the Income/Cash Flow of Your Client and Their Spouse

• Determining the Historic Family Expenses for Your Client, Their Spouse, and Their Children

• Determining the Assets of the Marriage, and Any Nonmarital Assets

• Determining the Value of Assets

Methods of Obtaining Information

• Subpoena Duces Tecum

• Records Deposition

• Depositions

• Interrogatories

• Notice/Request/Demand for Production of Documents From a Party

Sources of Information

• Parties

• Accountants

• Banks or Mortgage Brokers

• Employers

• Unions

• Investment Counselors

• Internet Data Bases

• Federal and State Government

Basic Types of Documents

• Tax Returns (Personal Tax Returns and All Supporting Documents)

• Business, Trust, or Gift Tax Returns ( With All Supporting Documents)

• Banks/Savings/Money Market Account Records

• Investment Account Records

• Credit Card Records

• Multiple Documents From Business(s) Owed in Whole or Part by Your Client or Their Spouse

• Trust Documents

• Insurance Documents

Interpreting the Information: Income vs. Cash Flow

• Statutory Definitions of Income

• Noncash Expenses

• Nonincome Cash Flow

• Extrapolating/Inferring Information