In California, each party in a divorce must complete a set of mandatory documents, called a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosures, before a judge or commissioner will grant their divorce. In this post, we provide a brief “how-to” on completing, filing, and serving these documents so you can move toward finalizing your divorce.
The preparation and exchange of these documents is vital to the divorce process. The documents require each party to disclose their income, assets, and debts (whether separate or community) to each other. If either party purposefully omits an asset or debt, they are subject to legal consequences.
The documents include an Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150), Schedule of Assets and Debts (FL-142), Declaration of Disclosure (FL-140), and a Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure and Income and Expense Declaration (FL-141).
Let’s explore each document in detail.
Income and Expense Declaration
This document informs the court and opposing party/counsel of your average monthly income and expenses. Make it as up-to-date as possible, and include at least your last two months of recent pay statements.
Your expenses don’t need to be exact; give the best ballpark figures you can manage. If you are self-employed, include the most recent Schedule K from your tax returns.
Prior to filing this document with the court or serving on the other party/attorney, be sure to redact (block out) your Social Security number and any other sensitive identifying information you do not wish to become a part of public record.
After you finalize the document, make two copies. File one copy with the court, and include the other in the disclosure packet you send to the other party.
Note: While this document is filed with the court and therefore “public record,” it’s not easily accessible.
Declaration of Disclosure
This simple, straightforward form indicates that you completed your Schedule of Assets and Debts and Income and Expense Declaration forms and sent them to the other party. Attach your last two years of tax returns before serving this document.
Again, you should redact sensitive information before finalizing this set of documents. Make a copy of this document and all attachments, and include them in your disclosure packet to send to the other party or their lawyer.
This document does not get filed with the court.
Schedule of Assets and Debts
The Schedule of Assets and Debts is the most complex document of the bunch. It is long, asks for a lot of information, and lays out all of your assets and debts, community and separate. Fill it out as completely as possible, including everything you can think of as well as supporting documentation for each item you list.
Remember to redact all sensitive information you don’t wish to share with the other party.
Once you have gathered all information for this document, make a copy, and place it with your disclosure packet.
This document gets exchanged but is NOT filed with the court.
Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure and Income and Expense Declaration
The final document is the Declaration Regarding Service of Declaration of Disclosure and Income and Expense Declaration. Though the name is long and redundant, it is a pretty simple “check the box” document informing the court that you prepared and served your mandatory Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure documents.
Once you have filled out this document, make two copies: one to take to court, and one to send to the other party or their counsel.
Ready to serve and file
If you filled everything out and made copies, you are now ready to serve and file!
A copy of each document should be mailed or hand-delivered to the opposing party. Your remaining copies can go to the court for filing.
Congratulations! You have completed your mandatory Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure documents!