Both you and your soon to be former spouse will need to provide financial information to the court as part of your California divorce process. The financial statement you’ll complete will ask about all of your liabilities and assets and you need to complete it as honestly and fully as possible. The court will use this information to help divide up your assets, assign child support, and possibly spousal support and to ensure that both parties are treated fairly.
You’ll need to fill this out accurately, and your former spouse will have to provide the same information. If either of you fail to disclose income or complete the paperwork dishonestly, you could end up with legal troubles in addition to your divorce proceedings. You’ll need to list all sources of income you receive and all of your debts and expenses. Your expenses include your rent or mortgage, utility bills, loan and credit card payments, medical bills, utility costs and even groceries. Complying with the financial disclosure sheet can help move you through the process and ensure that you are treated fairly by your former spouse and the court.
Financial Information You Must Disclose in California
Both parties will be asked to furnish the same information. In addition to the expenses and income outlined above, the items you own and even the debts you share need to be disclosed. In general, you’ll be asked about and should include:
- All income from all sources, even side jobs or work you only do sporadically
- Things you own together, like your home and cars
- Property you alone own that predate your marriage or were specifically gifted to you along
- Expenses for bills and debts you share
- Medical bills and healthcare costs
- Groceries and cost of feeding yourself and your children
- Utilities and other costs associated with living expenses
- School or daycare costs for your children
It seems like an overwhelming amount of information, but your soon to be ex-spouse will have to provide the same details.
What Documentation is Needed?
Your attorney will need documentation of your provided information to submit it to the court. Documentation includes copies of your legal documents, including prenuptial agreements, deeds and your lease or mortgage. Your tax returns, bank statements and pay stub, along with copies of your bills can also be used to prove that your submitted figures are accurate.
Document Requests and Interrogatories
If you believe your spouse is hiding assets or not sharing their complete financial situation, your attorney can request additional information. Your lawyer can submit interrogatories or document requests on your behalf; these will ask for further information and provide a more accurate look at your former partner’s financial situation.
What Happens if you Don’t Fully Disclose your Income?
You are providing information for a legal case and are required to supply everything requested – omissions or providing altered documents could impact your case. The other party could receive a better or more beneficial settlement or you could even be held in contempt of court. Hidden assets discovered after the divorce could trigger a return to court and additional legal action.
Complete the financial statement as accurately as possible to avoid problems. In general, the process is:
- Receipt of the request: You’ll receive the financial forms from your attorney or the court
- Gather income and expense paperwork: Don’t guess, use your monthly statements and bills to complete the required information.
- Identify property: List the property you own together and the property you own alone, along with purchase price, deeds and appraisals if you have them.
- Complete the forms: Accurately and fully complete all portions or work with your attorney to make sure all topics are covered.
A Family Law Attorney Can Help
The documentation you provide and the information you gather has a direct result on your divorce, support arrangements and financial outlook. Your future and your children’s future depends on the accuracy and completeness of these documents. By working with a family law attorney, you can be sure that all documentation has been provided and that you have truly included everything you need to. Failing to disclose income or assets could get you into trouble with the court, but failing to disclose expenses could mean you get less support than you deserve.
If you are divorcing your spouse and working your way through the financial part of the process, we can help. Our family law attorneys are well versed in the assets and other financial information that must be disclosed in a divorce and work hard to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact us to talk about your specific case and to learn what we can do for you. We’re here to make sure you and your children get the best possible outcome after your divorce is final.