In California divorces in which both spouses are involved in the divorce process, you must exchange financial disclosure forms providing accurate and complete information about their property, debts, income and expenses. The law provides for this to be done near the beginning of a divorce (preliminary disclosures) and near the end of a divorce (final disclosures).
The spouse who is the Petitioner is supposed to complete the preliminary disclosures within 60 days of filing the Petition, although there is no penalty for being late. If the other spouse files a Response, that spouse is also supposed to complete their preliminary disclosures within 60 days of filing their Response.
The spouses need to serve these disclosures on each other and need third parties to do this. Evidence of service needs to be filed with the court (so the court is as certain as they can be that the disclosures have occurred and been received).
It is okay for one spouse to prepare the listings of property, debt, income and expenses and the financial disclosure forms for the other spouse to sign, assuming all they contain all the required information.
If both spouses agree, you can waive the final disclosures, but both spouses must sign and file a form (FL-144) with the court to do so. However, if your divorce settlement includes substantial financial assets or debts, you are better protected by doing the final disclosures at the time your settlement is finalized. This can help you ensure there is an up-to-date match between what has been disclosed and what is in your settlement.
If not already done in the preliminary disclosures, for each of your assets and debts the final disclosures need to provide all material facts and information regarding their value and character. As to character, that means you need to indicate whether each item is community (marital) property, separate property (belonging to which spouse) or mixed (how so).
Divorce Financial Disclosure Forms
Here are the financial disclosure forms that you need to use for your disclosures:
- FL-160 Property Declaration (lists either your community (marital) property or a spouse’s separate property)
- FL-142 Schedule of Assets and Debts
- FL-150 Income and Expense Declaration (lists your income and expenses)
- FL-140 Declaration of Disclosure (a cover sheet for the actual disclosure forms)
- FL-141 Declaration Re Service of Declaration of Disclosure (lets the court know that a financial disclosure has been served)
The first two (FL-160 and FL-142) are somewhat redundant in that they both are for listing your assets and debts. FL-142 is more comprehensive in that it can be used to list both community and separate property on a single form. It is used instead of the FL-160 by many couples.
The court’s website has information about completing the divorce financial disclosure forms. Another excellent resource is Ed Sherman’s book How to Do Your Own Divorce in California.