What are Mandatory Disclosures?
You’ve decided that a divorce is the right choice for you, but you’re lost in a sea of new terms during the most stressful time in your life. Your attorney has asked for mandatory disclosures, but you’re not even sure what that means, let alone what it requires. I hope to shed some light on what documents you must provide and why.
The following is a list of documents that are required in any proceeding where you are requesting permanent financial relief. Permanent financial relief may include requests for child support, alimony, equitable distribution of assets or debts, attorneys’ fees, suit money, or costs. Please remember that other documents may be requested, and you have a duty to supplement if changes occur or if you realize that previous disclosures were incorrect.
without further ado, here is the list of mandatory disclosures:
- A Financial Affidavit
- Tax Returns: provide all federal and state income tax returns, gift tax returns, and intangible personal property tax returns for the past 3 years
- If you have not filed for the previous year, provide IRS forms W-2, 1099, and K-1 for that year
- Income: provide pay stubs or other proof of earned income for the 3 months prior to filing the petition
- Income: provide a statement identifying the amount and source of all income from any source during the 3 months prior to filing the petition, if it is not reflected on the pay stubs
- Loans: provide all loan applications and financial statements prepared or used within the 12 months prior to filing the petition (whether used to obtain or attempt to obtain credit or for any other purpose)
- Deeds/promissory notes/leases: provide all deeds within the last 3 years, all promissory notes within the last 12 months, and all present leases, in which you own/owned an interest
- Bank Accounts: provide all periodic statements from the last 3 months for all checking accounts, and from the last 12 months for all other accounts (savings, money markets, CDs, etc.). Even if the account has since been closed
- Brokerage Accounts: provide all brokerage account statements held within the last 12 months or in which you hold an interest
- Retirement Accounts: provide most recent statement for any profit sharing, retirement, deferred compensation, or pension plans (IRA, 401(k), 403(b), SEP, KEOGH, etc.)
- Life Insurance Policies: provide the declarations page, last periodic statement and the certificate for all policies covering your life, or your spouse’s life
- Health Insurance Policies: provide current health and dental insurance cards covering either party and/or dependents
- Businesses: provide all tax returns for the last 3 tax years if you have an ownership/interest in a business entity or trust greater than or equal to 30%
- Credit Cards and other Debts: provide all notes for the last 12 months showing any indebtedness as of the date of filing the petition
- Lease Agreements: provide the last 3 months of all present lease agreements in which you owe/owed payments
- Premarital/Marital Agreements: provide all agreements entered into between you and your spouse, and any modifications
- Non-Marital Property: provide all documents and tangible evidence to support your claim to any asset or liability that is non-marital
- Court Orders: any court orders directing a party to pay or receive spousal or child support
Overwhelming, I know. Necessary? Absolutely. First of all, the Court requires them, even labels them as mandatory. Second, these documents allow the attorney to see a snapshot of your financial position. It allows her to properly advise you on the best approach to reach a marital settlement agreement. And, in the event an agreement cannot be reached, it allows your attorney to craft the best argument for you.
Will you have all of these documents? I don’t know. But it is best if you provide what you have access to, this way your attorney can work on your behalf and for your best interests. So if you have any questions about what these documents are, where to find them, and if you must provide them, please, ask your attorney.