Divorces are complicated — there is a lot of paperwork, major life changes, and emotions that all combine to make things challenging for everyone involved.
It’s important to understand what your obligations are in California divorce proceedings. The declarations of disclosure are part of your duties.
The declarations serve to provide evidence that both parties have the same information with regards to the facts and liabilities surrounding liabilities and assets. These documents protect and preserve your community liabilities and assets starting on the date of your official separation.
Additionally, these documents also make sure that sufficient and fair spousal and child support are awarded, assets are divided fairly, and conflicts are resolved through disclosure and discovery.
We’re going to walk you through your duties in the disclosure of California divorce proceedings and what is required of you along the way through to your divorce being finalized.
What Are Your Disclosure Duties in California Divorce Proceedings?
From the date of your separation through to the finalizing of your divorce, you and your spouse have a financial duty to each other. You are both supposed to remain honest and act in the best interests of the other party.
This part can get complex, but said plainly, your specific duties include:
- Providing each other with complete and accurate disclosure of your liabilities and assets. This includes all earnings, expenses, and accumulations.
- You both must disclose any income-producing opportunity that arises after you are separated but that resulted from any investment made from the date of your marriage until your separation date.
- You must provide each other with an accurate and complete disclosure of any management or operation of a business that you have an interest in.
What is a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure?
A preliminary declaration of disclosure must be served on the other party within 60 days of filing for divorce. It has to state that a person of “reasonable and ordinary intelligence” would be able to ascertain:
- The identity of the assets that you interest in and the liabilities that you may or may not be liable for.
- Your percentage ownership in each asset and percentage obligation for liability when you are the not sole owner of the property.
You provide that information through a document called a Schedule of Assets and Debts.
Additionally, you will also need to complete an Income and Expense Declaration and provide copies of your tax returns from the two years before the date of your preliminary declaration of disclosure.
Furthermore, you will certify that everything you have said is true to the best of your knowledge — under penalty of perjury — with a Declaration of Disclosure form.
What is a Final Declaration of Disclosure?
Your final declaration must include the following:
- All of the information and facts with regards to the characterization of your liabilities and assets.
- Any and all information and facts with regards to your assets and their valuation — in particular, assets that are community property or are contended to be community property.
- All information and facts pertaining to the amounts of your obligations — in particular, obligations that are contended or considered to be community property.
- All information and facts pertaining to your accumulations, earnings, and expenses that were provided in your Income and Expense Declaration.
You will provide this information using a Schedule of Assets and Debts. You will also need to provide any supporting documentation for any contentions in the Schedule of Assets and Debts. Additionally, you will also need to complete a supporting declaration that contains the required information.
Furthermore, you must provide a current and complete Income and Expense Declaration and again, you will testify under penalty of perjury that the information you provided was accurate by using the Declaration of Disclosure form.
When is the Final Declaration Due?
This final declaration and your Income and Expense Declaration are required to be served to the other party before or at the time you are ready to enter into an agreement regarding support or property issues. If your case goes to trial, then you have to provide your documents no later than 45 days before your trial date.
Are There Exceptions to Completing the Final Declaration?
There are three exceptions to disclosure requirements.
- If the other party accepts your default, or you accept theirs, then final declarations may be waived.
- Declarations may be waived if you both mutually agree to waive them — this must be done using a waiver, and again, this document is signed under penalty of perjury.
- Finally, if either party has sought a summary dissolution, the final declaration can be waived.
Let Us Help You Comply with Your Disclosure Requirements
You don’t want to be the party that fails to comply with your obligations regarding disclosure requirements. The other party can impose financial sanctions against you. The amount imposed will be sufficient to discourage this conduct — including reasonable attorney fees and costs.
For comprehensive legal counsel on your options during your divorce or legal separation, contact Azemika & Azemika, Kern County Divorce Attorneys. We will provide the guidance and representation you need to ensure your rights are protected.