The divorce process in California involves not just negotiating with your spouse but also submitting certain paperwork to the courts. Until a family law judge reviews and approves your paperwork, you will remain legally married.
One of the most important documents that you will submit during a California dissolution is the Declaration of Disclosure. This document affirms that you have provided all appropriate financial and personal records to your spouse and their lawyer, as well as the courts.
What exactly must you include in your Declaration of Disclosure?
An inventory of your assets
There is a state form called the Schedule of Assets and Debts that you will have to submit. Everything from your personal bank account and retirement savings to the value of your wardrobe will be included in this document.
You may also need to file a Property Declaration to notify the courts about community property or quasi-community property and certain separate property that you believe will not be subject to claims by your spouse in the divorce.
A review of your current budget
The state will also require an Income and Expense Declaration that explores your typical income and household expenses. The information provided in this document will influence support obligations and also how a judge chooses to divide your community property if you do not settle property division matters.
You will also need to submit the last two years of tax returns along with those budget documents to validate how much income you claim and the write-offs you have previously utilized to cover household expenses.
You will typically have to include two statements separate from the state forms that you can draft with the assistance of your lawyer. You will have to disclose all material facts related to community property or property that your spouse may have an interest in under community property laws. You also have to make a statement disclosing any debts for which the marital unit may potentially be liable.
Additionally, you will have to make disclosures about upcoming opportunities for income received since the date of separation but while the divorce is still underway. Mistakes made during this disclosure process can prove very expensive for the spouse who does not inform the courts and the other spouse of their true financial circumstances.
Talking to a lawyer and having their assistance while filling out your Declaration of Disclosure will maximize your protection during this and other key stages in your divorce.