Financial Disclosures in Divorce
Going through a divorce is never easy, and it may be even more stressful when the question of financial disclosures comes up. At the Law Offices of David P. Schwarz, our Orange County divorce lawyers can help you understand your rights and protect your interests. We can ensure that all of the necessary documents in your case are completed accurately and in a timely manner.Financial Disclosures in a Southern California Divorce
Preparing and exchanging financial disclosures is a required step in a California divorce proceeding. Financial disclosure forms allow the spouses to exchange information about their property, debts, income, and expenses. These disclosures are signed under the penalty of perjury. In some cases, if both spouses agree, the financial disclosures may be waived as long as both spouses sign and file a certain form (Form FL-144) with the court. However, this is only suitable for certain situations, and a knowledgeable attorney would be in the best position to advise whether it may be a viable option for you.
Under California law, each party who appears in the case must fill out a preliminary declaration of disclosure (PDD), which consists of the Declaration of Disclosure (Form FL-140), the Income & Expense Declaration (Form FL-150), the Schedule of Assets and Debts (Form FL-142), and the Declaration of Service of Declaration of Disclosure (Form FL-141). These forms identify all separate property and community property income, as well as assets and debts.
It is important to note that the spouse who filed for the divorce (i.e., the petitioner) is generally supposed to complete these forms within 60 days of filing the divorce petition. If the other spouse files a response (i.e., the respondent), that spouse must also complete their preliminary disclosures within 60 days of filing their response.
It is vital to fill out financial disclosure forms correctly because a failure to do so may have serious consequences for one or both of the parties. Part of filling out the forms accurately requires understanding the difference between community property and separate property. California is a community property state, which means that any assets or income acquired over the course of the marriage are divided an even 50/50 at the time of the divorce. Separate property consists of assets that a spouse brought into the marriage, obtained during the marriage by gift or inheritance, or obtained after the spouses separated. Separate property belongs exclusively to one spouse and will remain entirely within their control after the divorce.
If the court finds that a spouse deliberately or fraudulently hid, concealed, or omitted assets, the court has a variety of options to punish that party. One possible penalty involves imposing sanctions and awarding the entire asset to the other spouse.Discuss Your Divorce Proceeding with an Orange County Lawyer
While financial disclosure forms may appear straightforward, the reality is that they are filled with legal complexities. If you are going through a divorce, it is important to seek the help and guidance of a diligent Orange County divorce attorney who can help you fill out the necessary paperwork. At the Law Offices of David P. Schwarz, we represent people in Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, San Clemente, Dana Point, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Orange, Irvine, Newport Beach, and other Southern California cities. For a free initial consultation with our family law attorneys with over 20 years of experience, you can call us at 949-735-9266 or contact us online.