A Quick Guide to Divorce Financial Disclosures
One major (and often contentious) part of divorce proceedings is dividing assets. Which are separate property? Which are marital property, and what can do you do if you disagree on how they should be divided? New York state requires couples to disclose their financial information and assets, so property can be split equitably.
Here’s a quick guide to the disclosure process.
What you must disclose
There are three broad categories to disclose: assets, debts and expenses. Some of these will be separate assets, such as an inheritance you received before or during the marriage and kept in a separate account. Some of them will be marital assets, such as a house you saved up for and bought together. Similarly, debts, like premarital student loans, are often considered separate debts In some instances, appreciation during the marriage is awarded to the non titled spouse. .
It’s important to go through your financial statements and documents to identify all of your assets, debts and expenses. These include retirement accounts, investments, fine jewelry and art, vehicles, life insurance policies with cash value and more. Don’t try to hide assets, even if you’re positive they’re separate property—you may be subject to penalties if the deception is discovered.
Evaluating your expenses
Many people find the “expenses” portion of the disclosures frustrating. Unexpected expenses and cost of living increases happen, after all. Fortunately, you only need to estimate expenses to the best of your ability.
The easiest way to do this is to review your credit card and bank statements from the last few months, or use an expense tracking app. Using several months’ worth of data ensures that you’ll come up with a reasonable average for each category, such as groceries or transportation expenses.
If you have questions about financial disclosures or need a seasoned divorce attorney, reach out to Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP today.