Divorce not only ends a marriage, it essentially separates one household into two. In Colorado, this means the equitable division of a couple’s marital assets and debts. Divorcing spouses in Colorado have two options for dividing their property, bank accounts, and debts. They can form their own agreement with the help of their lawyers and the mediation process, or they can bring their arguments before the judge to decide for them.
No matter which way they come to a final judgment, the division of marital assets begins with full financial disclosures from each spouse. For some couples, the disclosure may only define their incomes and a few possessions like cars, appliances, and electronics. For others, a financial disclosure becomes a hefty document defining years of accumulated assets, properties, savings, retirement accounts, investments, and debts.
How Do Financial Disclosures Work?
Colorado’s Rule of Civil Procedure 16.2(e) compels both spouses in a divorce to fully disclose their finances and provide the necessary supporting documents. Financial disclosures in a divorce are affidavits both parties must legally sign, swearing to their accuracy. While every couple’s situation is unique, financial disclosures typically list:
- All income, whether from a job, business, or self-employment
- Checking and savings accounts
- Retirement funds
- Real estate property
- Pension plans
- Insurance policies
- Monthly expenses
- Separate property
- Debts, including credit cards, loans, mortgages, and any other debts
Once each spouse submits their financial disclosures, they’re available for the other party and their attorney to view. In some cases, one spouse’s attorney may request additional documentation.
What Documents Do I Have to Submit With a Financial Disclosure in Colorado?
Both spouses in a divorce must have a full and accurate picture of the other’s financial situation because this information forms the base for important decisions on the division of marital debts and assets, which assets remain separate property, and which party pays the other child support or spousal maintenance if appropriate. Documents typically submitted with financial disclosures include:
- Tax returns for the past 3 years
- Pay stubs
- Bank account statements
- Mortgage or loan agreements
- Credit card statements
- Insurance policies
- Pension plans
- Property and car titles
- Employee benefit packages
Divorcing spouses in Colorado have 42 days after one spouse files a divorce petition to produce their full financial disclosures with supporting documentation at the Initial Status Conference (ISC).
Penalties for Failing to Fully Disclose Finances
It’s important to be completely forthright in disclosing finances during the divorce process. An experienced Denver divorce attorney can produce structured financial forms and diligently ensure everything on your disclosure is correct and well-supported with documentation before submitting it to the court.
It’s essential that you don’t try to hide assets or dispose of them before your divorce. Penalties for incomplete or inaccurate financial disclosures include contempt of court charges with fines and possible jail time depending on the seriousness of the inaccuracy or omission. You could also face penalties during asset division in your divorce.
For lengthy divorce processes, such as those with many contentious issues for the court to resolve, the court could request updates to a financial disclosure if it becomes significantly outdated between the initial filing and the final hearing.
Financial disclosures are crucial for making judgments on nearly every issue that arises during a divorce, from the division of marital assets to child support and spousal maintenance. You shouldn’t try to go it alone with these important documents. An experienced family law attorney can ensure your disclosure is complete, precise, and promptly filed in the current jurisdiction. They’ll also thoroughly review your spouse’s disclosure to protect your rights and best interests while working toward your desired outcome.