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.