One of the most important requirements of the divorce process is full financial disclosure by each spouse. Whether or not you are the one filing for divorce or whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, you will need to reveal to attorneys or the court the details of your individual financial situation. This disclosure is vital for both parties because of the financial decisions that must be made to divide property and for spousal and child support decisions.
In this regard, you might need to prepare a financial affidavit. The name of this document may vary in each jurisdiction in Virginia, but in essence, this is a document outlining your complete financial information. A financial affidavit typically lists the following:
- Liquid assets – bank accounts, loan accounts, investment accounts, credit union accounts, stocks, bonds
- Debt owed to you
- Real estate – both properties that you own individually and jointly
- Tangible or material property – vehicles, furniture, personal items (valuing above $500), items stored in safe deposit boxes
- Businesses and business interests
- Liabilities – loans, credit cards
- Employment information.
Depending on your jurisdiction and the circumstances of your divorce, the court may also require you to submit other documents to support your financial affidavit. You’ll want to prepare or provide these documents:
- Monthly income and expense statement
- Tax returns
- Social security statements
- Pre-nuptial or marital agreements
- Real estate documents (deeds, purchase price, appraisals, etc)
- Insurance documents
- Employer benefits documents.
It is a very good idea and advisable to gather and copy documents as soon as possible when a divorce becomes a possibility, before separation, if possible. During post-separation it can be much harder to obtain these documents.
What Are the Consequences Of Hiding Assets During Divorce?
It is crucial that your financial disclosure is as complete and honest as you can make it. These signed documents might become part of a court process, which means that it can be costly to be dishonest or to exclude relevant information. In extreme cases, this dishonesty can be considered perjury and invites serious legal consequences.
At the minimum, if it is found that one spouse has not been honest in his or her disclosure, it might drastically affect a judge’s decision on the financial aspects of the divorce. Dishonesty in financial disclosure could mean a much less favorable decision by the court.
Remember to start compiling your relevant documents and putting your finances in order early on to be blunt, sometimes opposing parties take possession of relevant documents, and then things can become difficult. This also gives you time to ensure that the information you put in your affidavit is complete and accurate.
If you have any questions about putting together your financial disclosure or filing your documents for divorce, we at Holcomb Law are ready to help you. Give us a call at 757-656-1000 or email us at email@example.com.