Why must I disclose my financial information in a divorce?

In divorce proceedings, Utah law requires the spouses to disclose certain information about their assets and debts. This requirement can be very frustrating to people going through a divorce. It may seem pointless to disclose information that your spouse already has access to. Moreover, it may seem like an invasion of privacy to be required to turn over documents and other sensitive information to your soon-to-be ex.

So, why must you disclose this information? There are important reasons for the disclosure rules. When certain issues, such as maintenance, child support, and property division, are contested in a divorce, each party has a right to know the other party’s claims and defenses. This allows both of you to adequately prepare for mediation or court hearings. Further, your financial information is crucial when courts have to resolve disputes.  

Under Utah law, some information must be disclosed, even if the other party does not ask for it. This is known as mandatory disclosures. Other information must be provided only if the other party asks. This is known as discoverable information.

For example, Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 26.1 requires each party to disclose certain documents and information at the beginning of the case. Such information includes pay stubs, bank statements, documents that state the value of real estate, and loan applications. Essentially, you must disclose documents that contain details regarding your assets and debts.

As your case progresses, you may be required or asked to provide additional information to the other party. If your case goes to trial, you will be required to disclose any experts you want to testify, as well as any reports the experts produce. You will also be required to conduct pretrial disclosures, which means that you must notify the other party of your positions on any contested issues, any witnesses you intend to call at trial, and any exhibits you plan to use.

Because of all these rules and requirements, going through a contested divorce can be intimidating. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand what information you must disclose, what steps you need to take, and what options you have throughout the process.

Source: Utcourts.gov, "Disclosure and Discovery," Accessed July 7, 2015

 

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