BY: RACHEL LECK
If you have made the decision to separate from your spouse, some of the most difficult issues to resolve can be related to money. Full financial disclosure between the spouses is critical, so that each person has a clear picture the finances on the date of separation and the date of marriage. Child support, spousal support, and division of family property all require proper financial disclosure.
Financial disclosure of annual income is necessary in order to establish the correct child support payment, which is generally determined solely based on the number of children and the income of the paying parent. Annual income is also an important factor in establishing possible spousal support entitlement.
Each spouse will need to show the jointly- and solely-held assets and liabilities, as well as any property that might be excluded from the calculation, on both the date of separation and date of marriage in order to determine how the family’s assets will be divided.
Detailed financial disclosure, including a sworn financial statement, forms part of the documentation required by the court if you chose to start a court process, or if you need to respond to one. Even if you and your spouse intend to resolve your separation outside of the courts, the same detailed financial disclosure is required.
If you do not provide the necessary financial information, your spouse may be able to challenge any agreements you have reached based on that non-disclosure, which creates uncertainty for both parties, and very likely significantly increased legal costs in the future.
Understanding your disclosure obligations and preparing full and accurate financial statements can be challenging. A family law lawyer can provide you with information and advice you need to meet your obligations, which will form the foundation of a solid resolution to your separation.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This publication is the 23rd installment of our firm’s Legal Matters series, which answers a reader’s question every week. If you have a general legal question that you would like to have addressed please send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.