The financial side of a divorce case is often the most complicated part. To simplify things and keep them fair, the law in Colorado requires both sides of a divorce to disclose full and accurate information about their assets and debts to the other side, typically early on in the divorce process. Before you and your spouse can work out a property division settlement – or your case is handed to a judge – you must both submit complete financial disclosures. Failing to do so can result in serious penalties.
What Does Complete Financial Disclosure Mean?
One of the first steps that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse must take to get divorced in Colorado is to submit your financial disclosure information and supporting financial documents. According to Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 16.2(e), both parties involved in a divorce or legal separation case are required to fully and accurately disclose their financial situations. This requirement is called an absolute duty, meaning that it is mandatory and not optional.
You can fulfill this legal obligation by filling out and submitting financial affidavits before the deadline, which will then be provided to your spouse or his or her attorney. An affidavit is a sworn financial statement with details of everything that you earn and pay each month. In general, financial disclosures must be submitted within 42 days of the couple filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation in Colorado. Some of the information that a financial disclosure form must contain is:
Income from a job or business
Income from self-employment
The goal of complete financial disclosure is to give both parties involved in a divorce a clear view and understanding of the other party’s financial situation. That way, they can both make informed decisions on how to divide their marital property, as well as how to calculate child support and spousal support obligations. If the couple cannot reach a settlement and the divorce case goes to court in Colorado, the courts will use the financial disclosure affidavits in much the same way – to determine fair or equitable terms for the divorce.
What Are the Penalties for Incomplete Financial Disclosure?
Both spouses involved in a divorce case in Colorado must provide sworn financial statements with full and accurate information. In addition, they must provide the requested financial documentation to support their affidavits, such as tax returns, financial statements, bank account information and investment documentation.
If either spouse fails to make complete and honest financial disclosures during a divorce, that person can face serious legal consequences and penalties, such as being held in contempt of court, having to pay a fine and even spending time in jail. In addition, the courts in Colorado may allow one spouse to reopen a divorce case if evidence is found that the other spouse committed a material omission or misstatement of disclosure.
When to Use a Divorce Lawyer in Colorado
It is critical that financial affidavits and related forms are properly and accurately prepared and submitted by the deadline in Colorado. Failing to do so, even by mistake, can result in the party being accused of intentionally withholding information or hiding assets. The best way to make sure that you fulfill your legal obligation when it comes to complete financial disclosure in a divorce case is by working with an experienced attorney in Fort Collins.
Hiring a divorce attorney can allow you to rest and relax while a skilled and knowledgeable professional fills out confusing paperwork and submits it to the family courts on your behalf. An attorney can help you prepare all of the necessary forms and financial documents to submit to the courts during your divorce, making your dissolution of marriage as effective and efficient as possible. In addition, in the case of a spouse’s omission or misrepresentation, a lawyer can help you pursue justice. Contact an attorney today for more information.