The 13.3 Disclosure Statement is one of the most important documents at the beginning of your case. In Chicago (Cook County), at the beginning of a divorce case, both the husband and the wife must complete a Disclosure Statement. You will hear your attorney refer to this as a 13.3, which refers to the local Cook County Court Rule 13.3 that sets forth the requirement for this form. This form must be completed before you can commence discovery in your case. The Disclosure Statement is designed to be an initial disclosure of basic financial information for your case. Frequently, the 13.3 is the primary document that is used by the Judge to make a determination about temporary support and the payment of attorney’s fees while the case is pending. For these reasons, the 13.3 Disclosure Statement is very important.
The Disclosure Statement covers 3 basic areas:
1. Personal Information. This information includes name, address, date of marriage, names of children, employer, and total income from the prior year.
2. Income. This section asks for the sources of all of your income including: salary, overtime, bonus, interest income, investment income, etc. This section also asks for all of the required monthly deductions from your income such as federal and state income tax, social security and medicare taxes, union dues, retirement contributions, and health insurance premiums.
3. Expenses. The monthly living expenses are broken down into 5 areas: (1) household expenses; (2) transportation expenses; (3) personal expenses; (4) miscellaneous expenses; and (5) children’s expenses. The expenses section also includes an area for you to list all of your liabilities, such as credit card debts and car loans.
4. Assets. In the assets section, you list everything that you own, including your bank accounts, retirement accounts, house, cars, stocks, businesses, life insurance policies, collectible items (for example: antiques, artwork, stamp collections), and any other valuable personal property such as jewelry and electronic equipment.
How to complete your 13.3 Disclosure Statement. Most of the information needed to complete your 13.3 Disclosure Statement will come from documents – mostly from your personal banking records. For the income section, if you are a W-2 employee (i.e., you receive a weekly or monthly paycheck), the information that you will need in order to complete this section will be contained on your paystub. For the expense section, you should average your monthly expenses across a 12 month period, if possible; otherwise, a good starting point is to at least figure out what expenses you had in the last month and to figure out how much you spent for each category. If you use Quicken or some other accounting software, you can generate reports that will be of great assistance in completing the expenses section. For the debts section, you should simply be able to get your current balances from your most recent credit card and loan statement. For the assets section, you really should make out a list of anything and everything that you can think of that you and your spouse owns. Then, complete the assets section of the 13.3 from the list that you have made.
A roadmap for your case. Because the 13.3 Disclosure Statement covers personal information, income, expenses, and assets, it really does serve as the roadmap for your attorney and for the Judge in your case. From the information contained in the Disclosure Statement, the attorneys in the case can gather the information that will be necessary to ultimately divide the marital property between you and your spouse, set child support, set maintenance, and allocate marital debts. Therefore, it is important that you fill-out the 13.3 Disclosure Statement as completely and accurately as possible.