What to Do When You Open a Family Court Case
Frequently, when a person is going through a divorce, there are financial concerns that the other party might not be truthful with all their assets. Thankfully, there is a mechanism in place that requires both sides to provide this information or face consequences from the Court.
Pursuant to family court rule 1.25-A, upon the entry of a new case, parties are required to exchange important financial information within 45 days of the case being served. If these documents are not provided, the Court can enforce sanctions including a finding of contempt that could affect both you and your case in a negative fashion. To avoid unnecessary sanctions and to give you the best chance to succeed with your case, you are required to provide the following documentation to the opposing party:
- Notarized Financial Affidavit (a form provided by the Court);
- Tax Returns for last three years (along with any related tax schedules such as W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, K-1s, Schedule C, Schedule E, etc.);
- Four (4) most recent pay stubs from each current employer and end of year pay stub from each current employer for the calendar year that concluded prior to the filing of the action;
- For businesses or self-employed parties, all monthly, quarterly and year-to-date financial statements to include profit and loss, balance sheet and income statements for the year the action was filed, and all year-end financial statements that concluded prior to the filing of the action;
- Documentation confirming the cost and status of enrollment of employer provided medical and dental insurance coverage for you, your spouse (if any), and your children;
- For the twelve (12) months prior to the filing of the action, any credit, loan and/or mortgage applications, or other sworn statements of assets and/or liabilities, prepared on your behalf;
- For the twelve (12) months prior to the filing of the action, documentation related to employee benefits such as but not limited to stock options, retirement, pension, travel, housing, use of company car, mileage reimbursement, profit sharing, bonuses, commissions, membership dues, or any other payments to or on behalf of either party;
- For the twelve (12) months prior to the filing of the action, statements for all bank accounts held in the name of either party individually or jointly, or any business owned by either party, or in the name of another person for the benefit of either party or held by either party for the benefit of the parties’ minor child(ren);
- For the twelve (12) months prior to the filing of the action, statements for all financial assets, including but not limited to all investment accounts, retirement accounts, securities, stocks, bonds, notes or obligations, certificates of deposit owned or held by either party or held by either party for the benefit of the parties’ minor child(ren), 401K statements, individual retirement account (IRA) statements, and pension-plan statements;
- For the twelve (12) months prior to the filing of the action, any and all life insurance declaration pages, beneficiary designation forms and the most recent statements of cash, surrender and loan value;
- For the six (6) months prior to the filing of the action, statements for all credit cards held by either party, whether individually or jointly;
- Any written prenuptial or written postnuptial agreements signed by the parties.
This list seems like a ton of documents (and it is) but it is very important for your case to make sure each of the listed items are provided (if applicable). The Court doesn’t want a person to make an uninformed decision because they were not fully aware of all assets. Also, once all of these documents are provided by both parties, it becomes much easier for the parties to potentially resolve their case when all the cards are on the table.
If you would like to open a family case or need assistance with a case that has already started, please do not hesitate to contact Ward Law Group at (603) 232-5220.