Why do we need mandatory disclosures?

Nicole Quattrocchi |

People hate to give over mandatory disclosures. No one likes to have anyone peeking around in their finances. It’s a question we always hear in any family law case, “why do we need mandatory disclosures?”

You could be one of the lucky few where waiving the right to such disclosures makes sense. If your split with your spouse is recent and you were kept apprised of all finances prior to the split, then it may make sense to waive the disclosures. You and your spouse or your child’s other parent may have so little together and separately that disclosures may not be required either. However, these are usually the exceptions to the rule. Most people going through a paternity case, divorce or other custody case need to disclose the information required by mandatory disclosures.

The reason is, that you may not be inclined to believe everything that the other person says. While people are required to sign and affirm before a notary that the information in their financial affidavit is accurate, people may not be perfectly accurate. Some people it’s as simple as a typo or forgetting about taxes. Others, it may be that he/she doesn’t want you to know about other sources of income unrelated to his/her pay stubs. That’s when mandatory disclosures become quite important.

What are mandatory disclosure? It’s a list provided by the court of information and documents that each side needs to disclose. It includes: a Financial Affidavit, tax returns for three years, W-2’s, 1099’s, three months pay stubs, loans, deeds, lease agreements, bank accounts, brokerage accounts statements, retirement account statements, life insurance policies, health insurance policies, credit cards and all other debts, such as car loans, student loans etc for twelve months statements and other information related to expenses and income.

Mandatory disclosures are overwhelming but necessary. Mandatory disclosures are required of both parties. This means that you will get the same information that you are required to disclose. They are not filed in the case with the court, but merely sent to the other party’s attorney or directly to the pro se litigant if he/she is not represented by an attorney. The disclosures will be redacted to keep bank account numbers etc confidential.

While mandatory disclosures are no one’s favorite part of the process, they are required by the court and can also assist your attorney with creating the best argument for your recovery of certain fees or assets as well as to allow the other side to sometimes see that he/she is asking for “blood from a stone.” Mandatory disclosures help the family law process and if your attorney asks for them, be honest and provide everything you can. If you’re worried about showing assets that your spouse or ex doesn’t know about, let your attorney help to portray those in the correct light and circumstance.

The Quattro Firm is happy to assist you in your family law matter and to thoroughly explain any questions you have regarding mandatory disclosures.