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Uniform Chancery Court Rule 8.05 requires detailed, written, financial disclosure in all domestic cases involving financial matters. The form requires each party to show their address, their income and deductions, their monthly expenses, their assets and liabilities. The Rule also requires a detailed employment history and the attachment of the most recent income tax return. These financial statements are critical to the divorce process and must be taken seriously. (You can find a sample form here.)

Judges and attorneys are allowed and expected to rely on the financial information submitted in the 8.05 financial statement. “A Rule 8.05 statement is a mandatory filing with the chancery court that provides that court with accurate financial information to assist in its equitable distribution of the divorcing parties’ assets.” Trim v.Trim, 33 So. 3d 471, 478 (¶¶16-17) (Miss. 2010) (emphasis added) (holding that “failure to submit a Rule 8.05 statement without just cause constitutes contempt of court” and “a party’s intentional filing of a substantially false Rule 8.05 financial statement constitutes a fraud on the court”). Consequently, a chancellor’s valuation of marital assets “may be accomplished by adopting the values cited in the parties’ 8.05 financial disclosures[.]” Jenkins v. Jenkins, 67 So. 3d 5, 13 (¶19) (Miss. Ct. App. 2011) (quoting Horn v. Horn, 909 So. 2d 1151, 1165 (¶49) (Miss. Ct. App. 2005). Reliance upon the Rule 8.05 form is within the chancellor’s discretion. See Mauldin v.Mauldin, 107 So. 3d 176, 179 (¶¶14-15) (finding no error in the chancellor’s reliance on values assigned in spouses’ Rule 8.05 forms). Chancellors are also permitted to view information on the Rule 8.05 with skepticism, where the numbers do not appear to be credible.

This law took an interesting turn for one attorney litigant when he “ guesstimated” numbers on his 8.05. The Judge took numbers the attorney didn't like, and didn't take numbers the attorney liked. The Appellate Court found that the Judge had the right to rely upon the guesstimates when he chose to, and the right to discount the numbers he found unreliable. Jones v Jones, NO. 2011–CA–01440–COA (Decided April 30, 2013)