The California divorce process requires the couple to prepare and exchange preliminary financial disclosures regarding incomes, expenses, property (both marital and separate) and all debts and obligations with each other.
Without them, the judge will not grant the divorce. Not filling them out or filling them out incorrectly can cause problems for both parties. A consequence of not disclosing all assets, debts and liabilities is possible court punishment to the guilty party, which includes sanctions and the award of the entire asset to the other spouse.
The formal disclosures are signed under penalty of perjury. Committing perjury can result in jail time.
California Family Code Section 2104 “requires the preparation of financial disclosures known as Preliminary Declarations of Disclosure detailing all assets comprising the marital estate, both separate property assets and community property assets.”
A Final Declaration of Disclosure can be completed around the time of trial or settlement in the case – unless the couple mutually agrees in writing to waive such final disclosure.
The Declarations of Disclosure consist of specific forms required by the court to make settlement negotiations easier to proceed, including:
- Declaration of Disclosure (FL-140)
- Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150)
- Schedule of Assets and Debts (FL-142)
- Declaration of Service of Declaration of Disclosure (FL-141)
The importance of filling out these forms is because they help identify the entire community estate. Even though these forms may seem easy to fill out, they are filled with legal complexities so it is always best to have a family law attorney review the documents.
It is important for both parties to know the difference between community and separate property because it can greatly affect the settlement. Community property is any assets and debts that were acquired during the marriage, including income, pension, furnishings, vehicles, homes, recreational vehicles, and bank accounts.
On the other hand, separate property assets are those acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage, or during the marriage by an inheritance gift. It can also include something that one spouse gives to the other spouse in writing.
If you are going through a divorce and have questions and concerns that need an answer, the Orange County family law offices of Amy M. Montes is committed to providing you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your divorce.
Call us today for the help you need.