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FAQs: Case Information Statement

A case information statement in NJ is one of the additional forms the courts require you to file when you decide to proceed with a dissolution of marriage. They must be filled out correctly, and sometimes they can be confusing. Below is a list of frequently asked questions about case information statements in NJ.

What is a Case Information Statement (CIS) in NJ?

This is the basic worksheet the court looks at when deciding things like child support, alimony, and the division of the estate. It lists all the income, assets and expenses that the spouses typically have on average. Because of how heavily the court relies on this document, it is crucial to ensure that it is filled out accurately and completely. To that end, if your financial situation changes, you need to make sure that you file appropriate amendments to the CIS. Remember, you will be swearing as to its accuracy before filing it, so you need to ensure it is correct.

What Goes Into a Case Information Statement in NJ?

There are seven distinct parts of a CIS, all of which deal with income, assets, and expenses. Part A is the section dealing with personal information, such as the names and addresses of the parties, birthdates, children, and any issues in dispute. Part B covers miscellaneous information about employers and whether things like health insurance is available. Part C covers income in great detail, which will be discussed more thoroughly later in this article. Part D is the monthly expenses, painstakingly laid out. Part E is a full listing of any assets and liabilities, including how they are titled and the value of each. Part F is the 'statement of special problems,' and it's where you can provide the court with explanations or additional information on obstacles you face. For example, if you are caring for a family member, you might want to bring this to the court's attention. And finally, Part G is where you provide all the attachments and supporting documentation required.

What is Attached to a Case Information Statement in NJ?

At a minimum, you should include your most recent tax returns and their W-2 forms or 1099's, and your three most recent paystubs. You should also include any other evidence that you think would be useful, such as bank statements, lease agreements, or outstanding liabilities. If you are requesting college contributions for any children involved, then you must also include documentation that is relevant to that request, such as receipts for tuition, proof of enrolment, grants awarded, and even board and books.

What is Part C of the Case Information Statement in NJ all About?

Part C is very detailed. It provides information on both spouse's income from the past year as well as the present amount of income earned, including year to date income. Paystubs are important when filling this out, as it also requires you to include any deductions from your pay, like insurance, union dues, retirement plants, or other wage garnishments. You also need to include income from other sources besides employment. For example, if you have rental income, or receive SSI/disability, you would need to include this in the case information statement in NJ. This is where you can also show the court that you either receive or pay for additional child support for other children outside this particular marital relationship. It also breaks down your income into various sources, including base salary, bonuses, commissions, and any stock options. Including this sort of information helps the court understand your compensation schedule. For example, if your income is $250,000.00 each year, but that includes a discretionary bonus based on a percentage of company profits, that could affect court orders in support or the division of property.

When is a Case Information Statement in NJ due?

According to Rule 5:5-2(b), you must file the CIS at within 20 days of filing an Answer or Appearance. As previously mentioned, you also need to be mindful of whether or not your circumstances have changed to the extent that they warrant an amended CIS. Finally, if your case proceeds to trial, New Jersey requires all CIS forms to be updated and re-filed at least 20 days before the trial setting. If you do not follow these timelines, then you could be prevented from producing certain evidence at trial.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help me Fill This Out?

No - but it always helps to have a lawyer on your side. They can give you information on what you should include, especially if you are not sure what a certain asset description entails. With that being said, you should actually fill out the case information statement in NJ in collaboration with your lawyer. Fill it out as best you can first, then pass it along to your attorney. They will then review it and return it back to you with questions or requests to provide evidence to back up your assertions. You might go through two or three drafts before the lawyer is prepared to file it. If you proceed in this fashion, then you can ensure that both you and your counsel know what your CIS says.

Do I Only Need a CIS for Dissolution Cases?

The short answer is no. They are used in cases where child support could be an issue, or any post-judgment application, such as for a modification of support. You need to keep your old CIS. For modifications of support, the client has to provide their previous CIS filed at the time of the divorce in addition to a new, updated CI. This will demonstrate to the court any changes in income or financial circumstances when making a determination as to modifying support.

If you have questions about filling out and filing a case information statement in NJ, contact a qualified family law attorney. Peter Van Aulen has over 20 years' experience helping individuals navigate New Jersey family courts. Call him for a free initial consultation at 201-845-7400.

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