Once you and your spouse decide that divorce is inevitable, certain issues come into play. First, if one or both of you retain an attorney, the process toward a final dissolution of marriage will begin upon filing of a petition. Once this process starts, there are benchmarks or necessary documents and events that must occur to continue the process towards the final decree. The best way to handle these things is by honestly gathering the information you have and giving it to your attorney when requested. You may wonder what you need to deliver when it comes to financial information. While you may be tempted to not hand over all of your financial information, in almost every circumstance it is required.
What Goes Into a Financial Disclosure
It doesn’t matter how long you and your spouse were married – there are things one of you may not know. If one of you handled the money, the other might not even know what the account numbers are. The first thing a financial disclosure does is sets out all the accounts you know about, including what institution the money is at, the current balances and account numbers. You are typically required to disclose every one of your accounts, whether it is a joint account or not. Even accounts you have set up for your children need to be revealed. Retirement accounts, whether at a private institution or through an employer, also need to be set forth in the same manner.
Documentation To Support Your Disclosure
When submitting your financial disclosure, you also need to provide documentation that the information you are providing is accurate. This usually comes in the form of printouts of accounts and bank statements going back a certain amount of time. Typically, you want to have at least six months of supporting documentation. Check with the laws in your state as they may require more or less.
Failure to Disclose
It may be tempting to stash money, believing it will help you to have a little cushion. However, if you get caught failing to disclose any information, the penalties may be stiff. The court does not view hiding things kindly. It will ruin your reputation and your credibility with the court. It may also wind up costing you in court fees and sanctions.
Divorce can be a complicated process, but failing to follow the rules of the court will make it worse for you in the short and long term. Get with your attorney to make sure you have all the information required to get it filed within the requisite timeframes.