In an action for divorce and any other family action, the parties are required to submit a full financial disclosure. The court is actually required by law to order the parties involved to file the disclosure. This disclosure includes all assets owned separately or jointly between the parties in a divorce. The statute defines “assets” as real estate, savings accounts, stocks and bonds, mortgages and notes, life insurance, retirement interests, interest in a partnership, limited liability company, or corporation, tangible personal property, future interests whether vested or nonvested, and any other financial interest or source. The statute goes further to say that assets are not limited to the above list. Additionally, the parties are required to provide information regarding debts and liabilities.
The court will also require the parties to provide copies of paystubs or other documentation verifying sources of income for the previous year and copies of state and federal income tax returns. Although the statutes require that the disclosures be exchanged and filed within 90 days from when the action is initiated, the courts do have the ability to set a different deadline. In reality, local court rules set create a scheduling order to which all parties should adhere. Some counties will require that the information be exchanged and filed with the court ten days prior to a pretrial conference.
It is important to know that the above information is kept confidential. While most documents filed with the court are a public record, this information is only accessible to parties involved in the action.
If a party does not file the disclosure within the time limits, the court may just rely upon the information it has which may favor the party that has disclosed the information. If a party does not disclose the information as order by the court, the court may hold all nondisclosed assets in a constructive trust for the benefit of the parties and any minor children. Additionally, if a party disregards a court order the aggrieved party may file a motion for contempt or to compel the disclosure.