A key element at the start of any divorce proceeding, full financial disclosure is an accounting of each spouse’s assets, debts, income and expenses. Pennsylvania has specific procedures that must be followed for full financial disclosure so that each party has comprehensive knowledge of the other’s financial circumstances in a divorce.
Why is Full Financial Disclosure Required?
Courts require spouses to disclose their finances to determine equitable property division and support awards and prevent unfair settlements. Even if a couple reaches an agreement on their own, the court will review debt and asset division, child support, and alimony to ensure fairness.
How can a Divorce Attorney help?
Gathering financial documents can be overwhelming and time consuming. It is not uncommon for one spouse to handle most of the financial issues in the marriage, which can leave the other with limited knowledge of the couple’s financial situation or where financial documents and information are stored.
An experienced divorce lawyer will guide you through this process and help you gather all of the required financial information. If you find it difficult to collect information on your spouse’s finances, your attorney will obtain it though the discovery process. Typically, you and your spouse will be required to present:
- Tax Returns
- Pay Stubs
- Proof of any other income such as social security, public assistance and child support or alimony
- Account statements for all bank accounts, including joint and separate accounts
- Individual and joint credit card statements
- Itemized lists of personal property such as jewelry, furniture and other items
- Stocks, bonds and other assets
- All retirement and pension accounts such as IRA and 401(k)
- Deeds, leases and title to property
- Motor vehicle titles
- Loan statements for mortgages, student loans, automobiles and personal loans
- All insurance policies, including: health, dental, life, homeowners’, and auto
- A list of monthly expenses and bills
Seeking the counsel of a skilled divorce attorney in Pennsylvania will ensure that you adhere to all the disclosure requirements for your particular case. A divorce lawyer can also help you with any updates and changes that must be made to your financial disclosure statement during divorce proceedings.
Challenging a Financial Disclosure Statement
The information contained in a financial disclosure statement is completed with the declaration that the content in the document is true and correct under penalty of perjury. Each spouse has the right to challenge a financial disclosure statement that has been submitted to the court, and failing to accurately complete a full financial disclosure statement can lead to being held in contempt of court and monetary sanctions.
Our West Chester divorce attorneys can guide you through the divorce process and ensure that your financial disclosure is accurate and your interests are protected.