Once a dissolution of marriage action has been filed, one of the first items due to the court is a Sworn Financial Statement (SFS) along with a number of financial disclosures that need to be provided to the other party. You may not want to give anything to the other side now and you may think they should already have the information. However, this is a requirement and it is essential that the SFS is filled out correctly. It is vital in determining maintenance and child support in dissolution or custody cases. In addition, it gives the attorneys and court a clear idea of the assets and debts.
The initial financial disclosures list income, from all sources, all expenses, all assets acquired during the marriage, and all of the debts acquired during the marriage. It’s also important that you and your attorney include all assets from before the marriage and any inheritance or gifts received during the marriage but that are separately owned. Your attorney will require you provide the documentation that supports the financial information listed on your SFS, including the following:
- Tax returns
- Business tax returns
- Bank statements
- Credit card bills
- Real estate information
- Pay stubs
- Statements for investment accounts
Why it is Important to Provide Your Divorce Attorney with Accurate Information
Providing accurate information to your attorney and on your SFS is important for a number of reasons. It’s important for your attorney to understand that income you receive and from what source. Certain assets are exempts from a property division, and not all the money that you earn each month is considered income. For example, overtime is only considered income if it is a requirement of your employment. There are also certain exemptions for social security and VA benefits.
It’s also important to determine the value of certain assets. If you or your former spouse own a business, that business may be subject to the property division. Keeping your attorney informed of the value, and its increase or decrease over the course of the marriage, can help your attorney determine whether a business valuation will be needed.
Because the SFS also lists the debts accumulated during the marriage, it’s important to make sure those figures are accurate. Did you go to school during the marriage that needed student loans? That educational debt may be something that can be divided between you and your former spouse if you used the loan to support your household.
Not accurately filling an SFS can cause delays in your case and greater expense. If the other side feels you are hiding assets, they can request additional discovery or documentation outside of CRCP 16.2 in the form of interrogatories or by request for production of documents. Interrogatories must be responded to in writing with any accompanying documentation. A production of documents can include your original financial disclosures, but are often voluminous, requiring a number of years’ worth of statements to be provided.
Failing to provide accurate information can also get you in trouble with the Court. If the Court finds out that you hid assets, the Court can find that you violated a court order or award the opposing party a greater proportion of the marital assets because of it. The Court can also hold you in contempt and require that you pay attorney fees if the disclosures were requested by the other party and never provided.
In Need of Legal Representation? Call Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C.
If you are contemplating divorce or are already in the process of filing for divorce, contact our Longmont divorce attorneys at Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C. right away. We can examine your case and determine which strategies can best safeguard your future. Because we understand divorce and all family law related matters can be complex, we work diligently to get your case resolved as quickly as possible. When you entrust our team with your case, you will never feel alone. We promise to stand by your side from beginning to end when you become our client.
To discuss your circumstances, get in touch with our Longmont divorce lawyers today. We are ready to pursue a happier and more comfortable future for you.