California is a community property state when it comes to divorce.Community property includes everything acquired during the marriage, such as assets, liabilities and pensions.
An important required step in the divorce process is preparing and exchanging preliminary financial disclosures. A judge will not grant a divorce without this information.
California law requires each party to fill out preliminary financial disclosure form FL-150, Income & Expense Declaration, and FL-142, Schedule of Assets and Debts which identifies all separate property and community property.
These forms are important because they help the parties and the court to identify the entire community estate. By preparing a preliminary disclosure, you disclose your financial situation – what you owed and owned with your spouse. Even though they may look easy to fill out, they are filled with legal complexities.
What happens if you or your spouse intentionally refuses to list all assets and debts? Negligent omissions of assets and debts, including separate property, can lead to devastating results for both parties. For example, you can lose out on your share of a community asset.
Never assume that any asset in your name alone, regardless of when it was acquired, is your own separate property.
Another consequence of not disclosing all assets and/or debts is possible court punishment to the guilty party.
According to California Family Code Section 2100(a), (b), (c) and 2120(a),“California law recognizes the vital importance of full and accurate disclosure of assets, liabilities, and financial circumstances at the early stages of a marital action in order to ensure a proper division of the community estate and fair and sufficient child and spousal support awards”.
If you would like assistance in completing your Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure forms or with any family law issue, please contact the family law offices of Holstrom, Sissung, Marks & Anderson, located in Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino Counties.
We are committed to providing you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your divorce and your family needs. We are here to protect you.