I have learned a lot from being a legal assistant for over 20 years.
One of the first things that your divorce attorney will likely do is hand you a blank Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150) and Schedule of Assets and Debts (Form FL-142) and will ask you to start gathering documents related to your income, assets and debts. This can be very overwhelming for some clients, especially those who are still dealing with the emotions and shock of grasping that they are about to go through a divorce. Consequently, the importance of preparing complete and accurate preliminary declarations of disclosure (PDD’s) is often ignored because it appears to be a very daunting task for divorcing spouses.
I was recently contacted by a client requesting assistance with his Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure for his dissolution of marriage. In a dissolution, legal separation, or nullity action, both a preliminary and a final declaration of disclosure must be served on the other party with certain exceptions. Neither disclosure is filed with the court. Instead, a declaration stating that service of disclosure documents was completed or waived must be filed with the court within 60 days of filing (see form FL-141). This particular client was confused as to why this information was so vital. I explained to the client that any assets and debts that are not disclosed could possibly be considered an omitted asset or debt, and could create the prolonging of their matter. Disclosures must be complete and must include supporting documentation for any asset or debts listed. Disclosures must include the last 3 years of tax returns, including all W-2s, 1099’s, K1’s. Included should be checking accounts, savings accounts and certificates of deposit account statements, as well as retirement/deferred compensation/pension/IRA statements and any credit, loans or debts. Be prepared to provide documents that might not have been otherwise thought of during this process.
Once the divorce is inevitable, it is recommended the parties maintain record and copies of their most recent documents received via mail, email or any other means that include but are not limited to their credit card statements, pay stubs, bank statements, receipts for major purchases i.e. appliances, items of large value such as jewelry, antiques, collectibles and furniture. Keep in mind that some of these documents might not be easily accessible to either party but your attorney will advise you of the recommended or acceptable documents.
To obtain more information regarding your rights and obligations, contact the Law Office of Bawden & Kochis, Family Law Specialists for a consultation to discuss your matter and situation. The Law Office of Bawden & Kochis also handle legal issues regarding adoption, annulment, mediation, child custody, child and spousal support, community property, visitation, separation, and domestic violence as well as pre-marital and post-marital agreements. Telephone (909)792-0222, or email us at [email protected] We are located in beautiful downtown Redlands. We service Riverside and San Bernardino County.