Do I Need To Disclose My Financial Information In A Divorce Mediation?
Yes, the more prepared you are to provide the necessary information on your financial status, the smoother your mediation will go. It is important to have full financial disclosure, so that there is a fair distribution of the marital assets. Providing a full financial disclosure can also help expedite your divorce proceedings by making your mediation less contentious.
What does full financial disclosure mean?
A full financial disclosure means that you provide all the financial information as required under Arizona rules and laws. In an Arizona divorce, both parties are required to submit an Affidavit of Financial Information to the other party and to the Court if the case regards financial issues, child support, spousal maintenance, or a request for attorney fees. There is also a Court approved form listed as an attachment to the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure that you can print out and review. It is generally recommended that you provide an Affidavit of Financial Information that provides both your present and future expenses, especially if you anticipate those expenses changing after the divorce proceedings have concluded.
Financial Paperwork You May Need
Because this area is so often contested, the following list will better help you understand some of the documents that you may need to submit as part of your financial disclosure of documents. When preparing for your divorce mediation, you may need to submit the following:
- Credit reports
- Proof of income such as pay stubs, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, commissions, bonuses, etc.
- Bank account statements
- Tax returns
- Mortgages, notes and liens on all real and personal property
- Medical, dental and vision insurance policy information
- Proof of any child-care expenses paid for any child listed in the divorce petition
- Proof of expenses for private schools or other educational needs
- Stock options, safety deposit boxes, tax shelters, patents, trademarks, etc.
- Investment account information
- Itemized list of personal items owned (vehicles, boats, jewelry, art)
- Liabilities such as credit cards, mortgages, student loans, auto loans, etc.
- Copies of all deeds, deeds of trust and purchase agreements for all real property
- Copies of credit card statements
- Prenuptial agreements
- Wills or other Estate Planning Documents
Can I get into trouble for incorrect or incomplete financial disclosures?
If you fail to comply with your financial disclosure obligations or try to hide assets before or during your divorce, it may result in serious consequences.
When you make your disclosure to the court, you must also sign a legal document attesting to the accuracy and completeness of the information reported. If you attempt to keep assets out of your divorce proceeding, you may be found guilty of committing fraud. The Courts do not look kindly on spouses who try to hide assets and will often award the other spouse a larger settlement. The offending spouse may also be required to pay the attorneys’ fees and court costs for the non-offending spouse.
Who will attend my divorce mediation?
In most cases, both parties, the mediator, and any attorneys involved in the case will attend the mediation. The mediation can occur in the same room, or in separate rooms where the mediator goes back and forth between the rooms to facilitate a resolution.
What should I expect during my divorce mediation?
Mediation is generally conducted by a neutral professional (i.e. the mediator) who assists the parties in resolving their issues through settlement without the need of a hearing or trial. The mediator is not supposed to “take sides,” but will try to explore settlement options without providing their own opinion. Mediation is a confidential process, so whatever is said during the mediation typically can’t be used in litigation. Most sessions last a 1-3 hours, but highly complicated, or contested, cases can sometimes last a full day or more. If an agreement is reached, a final settlement agreement can be drafted for the Court’s approval.
Where can I get help with my divorce mediation?
The process of going through a divorce and splitting marital assets can be a very challenging and confusing experience. Having an experienced family law attorney on your side will help ensure that the process runs smoothly, that there is a fair distribution of assets and that a completed mediation agreement is properly drafted. The Arizona family law attorneys at Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC have extensive experience handling a wide range of complex family matters. When you work with us, we take the time to understand your goals, and learn what matters most to you. Our approach allows us to create a results-oriented plan in your case that will move you toward to a better, brighter future.
If you are facing a contested divorce mediation, visiting with an experienced family law attorney can help you better understand both your legal and financial rights. If you are working on the financial disclosure process in your mediation without proper legal representation, you may fail to fully comply with the disclosures required by law and could even place yourself at a serious disadvantage or in legal risk.
Contact one of our experienced family law attorneys at Brown & Hobkirk, PLLC today for a free consultation. We can help ensure that you receive the best possible legal advice regarding the financial disclosure process in your divorce mediation.