Disclosures in Family Law Q&A
The judge on my case keeps saying the word “disclosure,” but I have no idea what that means or what to do. What is a disclosure?
As part of any family law case in Arizona, there are rules put in place for every party, even unrepresented, to follow. These rules are found in the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. The rule for Disclosure is found in Rule 49 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. In this rule, there are a number of requirements that both you and the other party must comply with. Specifically, there are rules as to what items you must “disclose” to the other party. These disclosures should be made within 40 days of a response being filed in your case.
I looked at Rule 49, and it says something about disclosing a written Resolution Statement. What is that?
Every party is required to submit a Resolution Statement. This document includes any agreements you have with the other party, the issues in the case, and how you would like to resolve those issues. The statement should not include any arguments, only what you would like the results to be. You will draft this document and exchange it with the other party and file a copy with the Court.
What if there is a child support issue in my case? What should I disclose?
There are a number of items you should disclose if there is child support at issue. You must complete an Affidavit of Financial Information. This document will include your income, as well as monthly expenses and debts. You can obtain this form from the Maricopa County Court website or there is an example in the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure.
You also need proof of your income from the last two years. You should have any tax returns, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, as well as pay stubs, bonuses, or any other source of income you may receive.
If you are paying child support or spousal maintenance that is court ordered for a separate case, you should provide proof that you have actually paid.
If you are paying for any health insurance, childcare expenses, private school or special school expenses, or extra costs for special needs or handicapped children, you must provide proof of those items as well.
If my spouse or I are requesting spousal maintenance, should we provide anything extra?
You will need to provide the same Affidavit of Financial Information you would complete for child support. You can use the same one if you have already completed one.
My spouse and I have a ton of property and debts. What do I need to disclose for those items?
It is very important to make sure information on property and debts is disclosed. If it is not, something may potentially be left out of your divorce decree. You will want to look at all your assets and debts and see what you have first. Some of the disclosure requirements may not apply to you, if you do not have what is supposed to be disclosed.
If you have any real property, make sure you disclose copies of the deeds, any purchase agreements, documents showing ownership, and any encumbrances.
If you have a bank or savings account, or any other type of an investment account, you will need to disclose statements for those accounts commencing six months prior to the filing of your petition. This goes for credit and debt statements as well. For type of credit or debt that you have, you should disclose the previous six months of statements.
You will also want to disclose statements from the prior six months for any pension, retirement, stock options, or annuities if you have any of those items. You also need to disclose statements for life insurance policies from six months prior.
If there are items that need to be valued, you should disclose any information relating to that properties value. It is useful to have something valued within six months prior to filing the petition.
If there is a business, particular business documents should be disclosed. This includes tax returns, balance sheets, profit and loss statements, any other information relating to the business’ value for the last two years.
Do I need to disclose anything else?
Yes. You will want to make sure you disclose any of your witnesses, including expert witnesses. You should disclose the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the witnesses. You should also disclose what you expect the person to testify to.
After I disclose all of that information, am I finished?
No. You always have a continuing duty to disclose. This means if something new comes up or changes you should disclose it to the other party. Additionally, there may be things outside of the mandatory disclosures you want to disclose. Remember, anything that is not disclosed cannot be presented as evidence in court.