What is a Family Part Case Information Statement in New Jersey?
If you are involved in a divorce or post-divorce matter in New Jersey where there are custody or financial issues, you will be asked to fill out a Case Information Statement, commonly referred to as a “CIS.” The New Jersey Court Rules require a CIS to be filed within 20 days of the Defendant filing his/her Answer or Appearance, but the Court may give you a due date that provides you with slightly more time than this. If you fail to file a CIS within the time frame ordered by the Court, the Court can dismiss your pleadings. This means that you can essentially be “removed” from the case for your failure to timely file a CIS.
A CIS should therefore be taken seriously and should be filled out with as much detail as possible. The more thorough a CIS, the easier it is for your attorney and the Court to understand your specific financial situation. A good CIS will tell the Court exactly what you and your spouse earn, how you spend your money, what assets you have amassed and what debts you have incurred.
Below is a description of the six main parts of a CIS:
- Part A (Case Information): Here, you will provide the Court with important dates like the date of your marriage. You will also indicate to the Court what exact issues need to be resolved (like alimony, child support, college contribution, custody, parenting time).
- Part B (Miscellaneous Information): Here, you will tell the Court where you work and indicate what insurance, if any, your employer provides to you.
- Part C (Income Information): The Court is interested in finding out what you earned the year prior and what you currently earn. You must back up this information by attaching to your CIS your last federal and state tax returns, W-2s and/or 1099s, as well as your last three paystubs. You will also need to disclose any income you receive in addition to or in lieu of employment income (such as social security benefits, unemployment benefits, rental income, etc.) You will tell the Court how frequently you are paid, whether you receive bonuses or commissions and whether you receive any non-cash compensation such as a free company car, free meals, etc.
- Part D (Monthly Expenses): Here, you will list for the Court what your monthly expenses were during the marriage as a family unit (“joint lifestyle”) and what your current expenses are if you are no longer living with your spouse (“current lifestyle”). If you and your spouse are still living together, then you can either ignore the current lifestyle column or fill it out based on what you anticipate your expenses to be once you and your spouse are separated.
- Part E (Assets and Liabilities): Here, you will list for the Court each asset in your or your spouse’s joint or individual name as well as each liability in your or your spouse’s joint or individual name. Common assets include real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles, jewelry, stocks, businesses and whole life insurance policies. You will be asked to indicate whose name each asset is in and what the value of each asset is. Common liabilities include mortgages, car loans, student loans, personal loans from family members and credit card debts. You will be asked to indicate whose name is associated with each liability and what the balance is on each liability.
- Part F (Statement of Special Problems): This is a section where you can describe to the Court what makes your matter unique. Examples of special circumstances may be a special needs child, a party who is suffering from a chronic illness or a family business.
At the end of the CIS, you must sign it and certify that everything contained in the CIS is true. Do not lie on your CIS and do not try to hide assets, as doing so could jeopardize your case and subject you to various sanctions. Take time to complete your CIS with your attorney. An accurate and complete CIS will help to move your case along much faster than an inaccurate and incomplete CIS.
The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.