What If My Spouse Refuses to Complete Financial Disclosures?
Financial disclosures are a vital part of the divorce process. They ensure that each party to the divorce case fully understands the other person’s financial situation. In turn, this understanding promotes fair property division and a settlement agreement that everyone can accept.
Some spouses refuse to share their financial information
Unfortunately, some spouses refuse to participate in the financial disclosure process. For whatever reason, they withhold financial documents and protect sensitive information that would have made divorce proceedings a lot easier for everyone.
Examples of information your spouse may be refusing to share with you include the following:
- Tax returns
- Bank accounts
- Expense declarations
- Pay stubs
- Credit card statements
Why does my spouse refuse to complete financial disclosures?
It's possible that your spouse may not want to disclose their financial information due to fear of being judged or lack of trust. They may feel overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork involved and intimidated by the thought of sharing such a detailed accounting of their finances.
Fortunately, there are several strategies for getting around this problem without resorting to legal action. First, try talking with your spouse about why they are refusing full financial disclosure. Perhaps there are misunderstandings or apprehensions between the two of you that could be cleared up with communication.
Mediation is another viable option. You could seek a third-party mediator to help facilitate productive conversations between you. Or, you could enlist a financial expert to provide additional guidance.
Explore mediation for productive conversations.
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Steps to take if your spouse won’t cooperate
Document your attempts
If you've attempted to work peaceably with your spouse and they still refuse to cooperate, make sure you have extensive and accurate documentation of your attempts. This is crucial evidence a judge will want to review.
Hire a private investigator
You may need to hire a private investigator to uncover your spouse's financial holdings. This sounds like an added expense and something you shouldn't need to do, but unfortunately, if you're in this situation, it may be necessary.
Ask the judge for help
Your last option is to go before a judge and ask them to demand your spouse return the financial disclosures. They may or may not be swayed by the judge's order.
With accurate financial information on the table, it’s much easier to fairly divide marital property, retirement accounts, and similar items. It’s also easier to determine how much spousal support, if any, should be paid by either party.
What if my spouse misrepresents or omits information in their financial disclosures?
If your spouse has submitted financial disclosures but you think they're missing information, you can first request them to provide updated disclosures. If they refuse, you may be back at hiring a private investigator again.
Having a full picture of your spouse's financial situation is vital to ensuring a fair and equitable divorce. At Hello Divorce, we’re well-versed in all aspects of the divorce process. We offer affordable online divorce plans as well as online services to help you through this transition. Schedule a 15-minute free consultation to speak with a friendly account coordinator who can tell you more about what we offer.
Watch: Everything You Need to Know About Divorce Financial Disclosures