Financial Tips for Men Going Through a Divorce

Financial Tips for Men Going Through a Divorce

In a previous blog, we talked about finances for women going through a divorce. Now, it’s the men’s turn. The divorce experience is as different for men and women as, well, men and women. Nowhere is that more apparent than in family finances. Even though men tend to fare better financially than women post-divorce, it is still important to consider some financial tips for men who are going through a divorce.

Learn Everything You Can About Your Finances

It may be difficult to negotiate a reasonable divorce settlement if you don’t know what’s involved. What bank accounts do you and your spouse have? How much debt do you have? Did you or your wife take the leading role in financial decisions. Make sure you know where you stand.

Make an Inventory of All Property

At this point, don’t worry about whether it is community property or separate property. Account for cash, bank accounts, real estate, personal property, and other assets. Prepare a list that is as complete as possible. Then put it in a safe place.

Explore Spousal Support Options

Some men resist paying spousal support. The reasons vary. Sometimes the husband took a greater role in financially supporting the family while the wife focused on home and children. Others may be worried they won’t have enough money to live on.

Some men resist receiving spousal support. In divorce cases where the wife makes more money than the husband, or where the husband takes an increased child custody role, the wife may pay spousal support to the husband.

Prepare for Child Support

Whether you will pay and how much depends on a number of factors. The judge hearing your divorce case will enter an order for one or both parents to provide a certain amount to cover a child’s living expenses.

Make sure you provide complete and accurate financial disclosures. The court will consider both parents’ net disposable income when deciding on child support.

Hold Off on Impulse Buying

Depression or even a sense of freedom sends some men over the financial deep end. This may not be the best time to buy a boat, go to Vegas, or move cross country. If possible, wait until after the divorce is final before making any big decisions.

Divorce is Hard

An experienced California divorce attorney can help you achieve the best outcome possible. Judy Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist, and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call our offices at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients along the Northern to Central California Coast.

What Information Do I Have to Provide with my Preliminary Disclosures?

As discussed in the previous blog post, Preliminary Disclosures are required for all
divorces in California. Preliminary Disclosures are a set of forms and documents that each party in a divorce must give to the other in writing providing information regarding all assets, debts, income and expenses.

Three forms are required by California law to be included as part of the Preliminary Disclosures: 1) Declaration of Disclosure (FL-140), 2) Schedule of Assets and Debts (FL-141), and 3) Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150).

Declaration of Disclosure
The Declaration of Disclosure form (FL-140) is a cover sheet signed by the party providing the disclosure under penalty of perjury. It attests that the Schedule of Assets and Debts and the Income and Expense Declaration are attached. It further requires that additional information be attached apart from the forms:
• The last 2 years of tax returns;
• A written statement of material facts relating to valuation of community property;
• A written statement of material facts relating to community obligations;
• A written statement regarding any investment opportunity, business opportunity, or other income-producing opportunity presented since the date of separation that results from any investment, significant business, or other income-producing opportunity from the date of marriage to the date of separation.

Schedule of Assets and Debts
The Schedule of Assets and Debt (FL-142) is a four-page form with questions related to the assets and debts of the person completing the form. The form requires disclosure of all assets and debts regardless of whether they are community or separate property. The form also requests an estimated value of the assets as of the date of completing the disclosure form and requires that statements be attached as proof of valuation. A party may indicate on the form whether they believe an asset to be separate property by annotating the asset with a “P” for “Petitioner” (the person who filed the divorce petition) or an “R” for “Respondent” (the person responding to the divorce petition).

Income and Expense Declaration
The Income and Expense Declaration requires a listing of a party’s income from all sources and expenses. This is different from the Schedule of Assets and Debts as it provides a “snapshot” of a party’s monthly inflow and outflow. The form has very specific questions that must be answered including special hardships, attorneys’ fees, and average monthly expenses. Like the Schedule of Assets and Debts, the Income and Expense Declaration also requires that supporting documentation be attached.

It is extremely important to be accurate in the completion of all of the disclosure forms. Providing incorrect or incomplete information can result in the judge awarding the entire asset omitted to the other party or an award of attorneys’ fees.

Remember that the “disclosure” requirement continues throughout the divorce process until the divorce is final. This means that if anything changes regarding assets, debt, income or expenses after the filing of the Preliminary Disclosures, you must fill out and serve a new set of disclosure forms on the other party to advise them of the new information. You would also then let the court know that you have filed updated disclosures by filing another Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure (FL-141) with the court.

The financial disclosure requirements for California divorces are very specific and the penalties for providing inaccurate or incomplete information are serious. It is important to hire an experienced California divorce attorney to assist you with completing these forms as part of the divorce process. Call (415) 293-8314 to find out how the knowledgeable divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger can help.

What are Preliminary Disclosures?

In divorce cases in California, both parties are required to provide a set of forms and documents regarding their finances to the other side. These forms and documents are called a “Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure” or “Preliminary Disclosures” and are required in order to get a divorce in California.

California law requires that specific forms be completed and provided to the other party as part of the Preliminary Disclosures. These disclosures are not something that must be requested by either side, there is an automatic requirement that each party provide this information to the other. Complete and transparent disclosure of financial assets is required. The forms and documentation required in the Preliminary Disclosures include detailed information regarding a party’s assets, debts, income and expenses.

The purpose of the Preliminary Disclosures requirement is to facilitate the ultimate goal of resolving all issues completely between the two parties, including a fair division of assets. The only way to reach a fair division of the assets is if both parties are aware of all of the assets held by both parties either individually or together. The Preliminary Disclosures also ensure that all parties are aware of each other’s finances and can adequately determine child support or spousal support where applicable.

Preliminary Disclosures are not filed with the court, but are “served” on the other party, either in person or via mail, as part of the divorce proceedings. Preliminary Disclosures must be served by the Petitioner no later than 60 days after filing the Petition for Divorce and by the Respondent no later than 60 days after the Response is due.

The only document filed with the court related to the Preliminary Disclosures is a “Declaration of Service of Declaration of Disclosure” which advises that the disclosures have been served. In the event that any information changes after service of the initial disclosures, updated disclosure forms must be served on the other side and a new “Declaration of Service of Declaration of Disclosure” must be filed with the court.

California law takes the Preliminary Disclosure requirements very seriously. The failure to provide complete financial information to the other party in the disclosures can result in serious consequences including the award of a hidden asset to the other party or a court order to pay the other side’s attorneys’ fees.

Preliminary disclosures are just one of many complex requirements for obtaining a divorce in California. An experienced California divorce lawyer on your side will make sure that you get the assets that you deserve. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are highly knowledgeable and experienced with obtaining positive results for their clients. Call us today at (415) 293-8314 to find out more about how we can help.