In California, financial disclosures in divorce are required to complete the divorce process. For example, the Petitioner must file a Preliminary Financial Disclosure within 60 days of filing for divorce. This is one of two financial disclosures in divorce that are usually necessary. This step is mandatory so that judges can be sure they are finalizing divorce settlements that are fair. A judge will not finalize a divorce without one.
Get help Filing Financial Disclosures in Divorce!
There are two financial disclosures in divorce that are commonly required:
- A Preliminary Financial Disclosure that identifies assets, debts, and income so that all information is disclosed before the settlement is approved.
- A Final Financial Disclosure that gives the values of identified assets and designates those assets as community or separate property so that the parties are clear about who owns what after the divorce.
The Preliminary and Final disclosures may be combined, but you will not always need to file both.
How to Complete Financial Disclosures
Completing financial disclosure forms goes more smoothly if you gather all the information you need in advance so you are not scrambling to assemble bits and pieces. The divorce process can be stressful, so keeping things organized will give you a great deal of peace of mind as well as helping you avoid missing any important information. You will need, at minimum:
- your two most recent tax returns
- your pay stubs from the past two months
You may also need:
- a copy of any prenuptial agreements
- business tax returns
- bank statements
- credit card statements
- stock portfolio information
- retirement income statements
- loan documents
- real property deeds for all properties, both separate and community
Filling Out Financial Disclosure Forms
Once you have all the information in one place, begin filling out the forms. The Financial Disclosures consist of four separate forms:
- The Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150)
This form requires your most recent tax returns and an estimate of monthly expenses. This is where you will attach your pay stubs to verify income. As a result, a judge will be able to see if your agreement with your spouse about support and division of assets will meet both your needs.
- Schedule of Assets and Debts (FL-142)
You will identify assets and debts on this form, then classify them as community property, your separate property, or your spouse’s separate property. The property values enable the judge to see how the assigned value of property will be distributed after the divorce. If this is a preliminary disclosure, you will not have to provide exact property values.
- Declaration of Disclosure (FL-140)
Use this form to swear, under penalty of perjury, that you have included only accurate information on the previous forms. Be sure you have been as accurate as possible! If it turns out your information is inaccurate, your divorce judgment could be set aside or you might end up facing sanctions.
Once you have completed these three forms, you must serve them to the other party. You will file the fourth form, the Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure and Income and Expense Declaration (FL-141), after the service. Once you have filed these financial disclosures in divorce, you can work out a settlement and have your divorce finalized.
Do You Need an Attorney?
If you are wondering if you need an attorney, then you probably need to at least consider hiring the help of a legal professional. Spouses who have significant amounts of shared or separate assets usually will work with a legal professional such as a legal document assistant or an attorney to complete the financial disclosures in divorce to make sure they have disclosed everything correctly. In California, you can avoid paying the high costs of an attorney by hiring a legal document assistant. If you cannot afford to hire someone to help you, consider taking advantage of the free assistance offered in local California courts. If you want to take advantage of this service, be sure to check with your local court in advance so you will know if the service is available and if you will need an appointment.
Do I Have to Complete Financial Disclosures?
The Preliminary Financial Disclosure is a necessary step in the divorce process. Even if you and your spouse reach an agreement on your own, you still must complete it. However, if you work out a settlement on your own, you may request the court waive the Financial Financial Disclosure requirement. In this case, you might not have to file both financial disclosures in divorce.
Judges cannot know if settlement agreements are fair unless they have a Financial Disclosure statement to review. This is why you must submit the preliminary document.
Contact A People’s Choice for low-cost help with your financial disclosures in divorce. Call today at 800-747-2780.
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