Financial Checklist for Divorce or Separation in California
Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally draining process, and in California, it comes with a legal requirement to share financial information. Regardless of whether you and your spouse have shared financial responsibilities for years, you must disclose essential financial details during the divorce process. These mandatory financial disclosures play a crucial role in helping both parties and the court understand the financial situation accurately, ultimately aiding in reaching a fair and appropriate agreement.
The Importance of Financial Disclosures
Financial disclosures are not intended to force you to share your funds with your spouse but to provide transparency about your financial situation. They are essential for filling out divorce forms accurately and attaching necessary documents to support the information provided.
Nine Items You Need to Get Started
Before you begin filling out the required forms, make sure you have gathered the following essential financial documents:
You will need the tax returns you filed for the past two years. These forms are crucial for understanding your income and financial history.
Proof of Income
If you are employed, you must provide pay stubs from the previous two months. For self-employed individuals, printouts from accounting software may be used as proof of income.
If you share property with your spouse and have an outstanding mortgage, gather mortgage statements to understand the current loan status.
If you have taken out loans to purchase significant assets like a car or a boat, gather the loan documents to ascertain the remaining debt.
Credit Card Statements
Accurate credit card statements help you determine your joint financial liabilities during the marriage.
Titles and Value Assessments
If you own any properties or vehicles without loans, gather the respective titles. Additionally, if you have appraisals for these properties, include them as well.
Provide statements for any joint checking and savings accounts. If you have any hidden accounts, include statements for those too.
Retirement Account Statements
If you have individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401ks, or pension plans, gather the statements to understand the value of each account.
Include any legal documents related to your split, such as prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.
Four Financial Forms You Must Complete
After gathering the necessary documents, it’s time to fill out the required financial forms accurately:
Declaration of Disclosure
This form serves as a cover sheet for all the financial documents you will provide to your spouse. Make sure to sign it before sending the documents.
Income and Expense Declaration
The FL-150 captures information about your income and expenses. Remember to attach proof of income to this form.
Schedule of Assets and Debts (FL-142) or Property Declaration
These forms provide details about your assets and debts. Fill out the appropriate form based on your situation.
Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure
This form proves that you have shared the required financial information with your spouse.
The Importance of Honesty
While it might be tempting to withhold certain details, honesty is crucial during this process. Failing to provide accurate information or attempting to hide assets can lead to severe penalties, including the loss of property and significant fines. It’s essential to be open and transparent throughout the divorce proceedings.
California law requires couples going through a divorce to share financial information. These mandatory disclosures are essential for accurately completing divorce forms and ensuring transparency throughout the process. By providing honest and thorough financial information, you can move forward with the divorce in a fair and appropriate manner.
1. Can I withhold financial information from my spouse during divorce?
No, California law requires full financial disclosure during divorce proceedings. Withholding information can lead to severe penalties and complications.
2. Do I need to share my income details even if I’m self-employed?
Yes, self-employed individuals must provide proof of income, such as pay stubs from the previous two months or accounting software printouts.
3. Can I file the financial forms with the court?
While you are not required to file the financial forms with the court, you must prove that you have shared the information with your spouse.
4. What are the consequences of dishonesty during financial disclosures?
Being dishonest during financial disclosures can result in the loss of property, fines, and the cancellation of existing agreements.
5. How can I seek professional assistance during the divorce process?
If you need guidance during your divorce, consider reaching out to professional services like Hello Divorce, which offers free 15-minute introductory calls to learn more about their services.