The typical divorce case involves many issues, including child custody, spousal support, and property division. Transparency is key to fairly resolving these issues, especially when it comes to dividing a couple’s marital assets and debts. In a community property state like California, debts and assets acquired after marriage usually belong to both parties. That’s why the preliminary financial disclosures are important – it’s hard to divide property when you don’t know it exists.
What are preliminary financial disclosures?
The divorce action starts when one person files a petition to dissolve the marriage. At the same time, or within 60 days, the petitioner serves the preliminary financial disclosures on the other party. If the other party responds to the petition, he or she must also serve preliminary financial disclosures on the petitioner.
Several documents make up the disclosure packet:
- Declaration of Disclosure,
- Income and Expense Declaration,
- Schedule or Assets and Debts OR a Property Declaration, and
- Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure.
Courts generally do not grant divorces if the parties have not submitted their financial disclosure forms.
What happens if the preliminary financial disclosures are wrong?
It’s entirely possible one party could omit assets from the disclosures accidentally. It’s also possible that the assets are being hidden to avoid sharing them with the other party.
If disclosures are incomplete or wrong, the simple answer is that the property will not be divided evenly. One party may not receive everything they deserve. The court may approve the property settlement without learning of the hidden property.
Accidental omissions on the preliminary financial disclosures may be easy to fix. However, deliberately concealing assets can lead to penalties. For example, a court may award 100% of a community property asset to the innocent party instead of only 50%.
Make Sure Your Property Is Disclosed and Divided Properly
Talk to an experienced California divorce attorney today. Please call us at (415) 293-8314 to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our attorneys.Please call us at 415-293-8314 to discuss your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger assist clients with divorce matters in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin County, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, San Jose, Gold River (Sacramento), and surrounding communities.