Preparing Disclosures in a California Divorce Case

Posted almost 5 years ago. Applies to California, 2 helpful votes

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1

Complete the Declaration of Disclosure

The Declaration of Disclosure Form FL-140 is like a cover sheet. It can be used for your preliminary or final disclosures. The preliminary disclsoure is served early in the case. It does not need to show the values of your property. The final disclosure is served later in the case, and must show the value of each property. When using the Declaration of Disclosure form for your preliminary disclosure, check the "Preliminary" box and then check the first two boxes on the body of the form indicating that your Income and Expense Declaration and Schedule of Assets is attached. These forms are discussed below. When using the Declaration of Disclosure form as a final disclosure, check the "Final" box and all five boxes on the body of the form. You need to attach a separate piece of paper to answer questions 3 to 5 on the form, regarding the information you used to value your assets and debts and information regarding any business opportunities. See link at bottom to find the form,

2

Prepare the Income and Expense Declaration

The Income and Expense Declaration Form FL-150 asks a number of questions concerning your income and expenses. The form is part of your preliminary and final disclosures. It also must be filed with the court before trial or for any hearing where either party seeks any financial relief, such as support of attorney fees. Answer each question completely and accurately. If a question does not apply, enter a "0" in the blank. Attach your last 3 paycheck stubs to the form. Bring your last tax return to the hearing or trial.

3

Prepare the Schedule of Assets and Debts

The Schedule of Assets and Debts Form FL-142 lists all of your assets and debts, even those assets or debts which either of you claim is your separate property. The form is part of your preliminary and final disclosures. It will help you identify all of the assets and debts you need to divide. When served with your preliminary disclosure, you do not need to list values on the schedule. However, the schedule must contain values for all property for the final disclosure. If you claim an asset or debt is the separate property of either spouse, mark the item with an "P" for Petitioner or "R" for Respondent. Separate property usually means an asset or debt acquired before marriage, or an asset acquired at any time by inheritance or gift to one party. Make sure you follow the directions on the form. Attach all of the requested information, like deeds and bank statements. A complete and accurate disclosure protects you from claims that you concealed an asset.

4

Serve the Disclosures

Use the Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure Form FL-141 to serve your preliminary or final disclosures. You can serve your preliminary and final disclosures as one document by checking "preliminary" and "final" on Form FL-141 and the Declaration of Disclosure. Make a copy of the disclosures for yourself. Serve the original on the other side. You can serve the disclosures by handing them to the other party or by mail. Indicate on the form how you served the disclosures. File Form FL-141 with the court. This is the proof that you gave the other side your disclosures.

5

Get the Disclosures from the Other Party

The court will not enter judgment unless both parties have filed Form FL-141 showing that they have served their preliminary and final disclosures. You cannot waive preliminary disclosures. They must be exchnaged, except in cases where the other party does not respond to the Petition for Dissolution and a default is requested. There is a process for "waiver" of the final disclosures, but the law requires that all of the information which would have been contained in the final disclosure to still be served. Therefore, it is really not a waiver. The parties must affirm that they exchanged all of the required information. It is best to serve the final disclosure.

6

Compare the Disclosures

Review each party's disclosures and see where the dispute is. If there is no agreement on the value of property, you may need to hire an appraiser. If you disagree about an item being separate property, you should exchange additional information supporting the claim. Come up with a plan for dividing all of your property equally. This can be done by dividing an asset 50-50 (called an in-kind division) or by trading one asset or debt for another.

Additional Resources

California Court Forms - Family Law

Walzer & Melcher LLP

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