By James S. Margulis, Esq.
Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 16.2 (e)(7) requires certain financial disclosures in every family law case as it pertains to the equitable distribution of assets and liabilities, maintenance calculations and child support calculations.
While this is not a sexy topic, financial disclosures are certainly a critical step in the process of a family law case.
In fact, the only issue that is not related to the financial disclosures in a family law case is the actual timesharing schedule regarding any minor children if minor children are involved.
The primary financial disclosure under Rule 16.2(e)(7) is the Sworn Financial Statement. This Statement is the global disclosure which requires one to state, under oath, their income, expenses, assets and liabilities. All other disclosures flow from this Statement.
Rule 16.2(e)(7) then basically requires a party to disclose all pertinent backup documentation relative to the income, expenses, assets and liabilities set forth on the Sworn Financial Statement. Said disclosures encompass paystubs, tax returns, bank statements, brokerage account statements, retirement account statements and real estate documents to name a few.
Based on each party's disclosures, both sides can present an equitable distribution schedule setting forth what they believe to be a fair division of the assets and liabilities.
Based on each party's disclosures, both sides can present maintenance and child support calculations setting forth what they believe to be the proper amounts of support based upon the income documentation produced by both parties.
Thus, in essence the entire case flows from these critical financial disclosures. Often times, in more complicated financial cases, forensic accountants are brought in to analyze the information and to present the pertinent schedules.
Here is the most important point: if a party intentionally lies on the financial statement or attempts to hide money or assets, they are committing perjury and fraud. First and foremost, they expose themselves to potential criminal liability. Second, if the fraud is discovered, the entire case can be re-opened at a later date to reassess the original determinations based on the new information. Certainly, a Judge will not look kindly on the party who committed the fraud in the second proceeding.
While no one particularly enjoys walking through this financial disclosure process, it is critical to take it very seriously as these disclosures will dictate one's financial future for years to come.
Please do not hesitate to contact Feldmann & Nagel's Domestic Team for any questions or concerns you may have and to serve all your family law needs.