California’s Financial Disclosure Requirement For Divorce

I find that few couples who seek an uncontested divorce in California know about the disclosure requirements. In California, each spouse to the divorce settlement must disclose all community and separate assets that they own. Each spouse must also provide information regarding his or her current income. This is the Declaration of Disclosure requirement. It can result in extra tension, even in a divorce settlement or uncontested divorce or in a summary dissolution situation.

All of these are non-adversarial. The parties agree essentially to a divorce and just want to “get it over with.”  The disclosure requirement changes the spouses’ views about divorce due to the complexity of the requirement. If they thought the divorce was going to be easy and “quick,” they need to think again. Because of these requirements, couples who seek a friendly divorce settlement should obtain an attorney to complete the process.

What is the financial disclosure requirement?

First, a spouse may not want the other spouse to know about all of his or her current assets and income. This may be true even if the spouses have been separated for a relatively long period of time, 6 months or more.  But in California, subject to certain exceptions, a “preliminary” declaration of disclosure is required of both spouses in a situation where they desire to submit a judgment based upon a marital settlement agreement or stipulated judgment for settlement of the case.

The declaration requires a series of detailed forms regarding each party’s assets. These may include bank accounts, vehicles, pension and profit-sharing plans, employee stock option plans, vehicles, and any other property the spouses own. In addition, the forms require information regarding debts of each party. Finally, each party must provide information and documentation regarding that party’s current employment or business income and provide tax returns for the past two years. For a discussion of the complete requirements of California’s disclosure law and exceptions, read here. The necessary forms are also provided.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the parties need to be aware of the disclosure requirements for divorce in California. This is true even when the divorce is non-adversarial. They will then be better prepared to anticipate disclosure requirements. They will then obtain a competent attorney to see them through the divorce process.

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