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What is the Next Step After I Serve the Initial California Divorce Paperwork?

The next step after service of the Summons and Petition for Marital Dissolution and the Response thereto is for both parties to complete and exchange their own “Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure.”

Both parties in a California divorce are required to disclose detailed, accurate information to the other about their respective incomes, expenses, property (both marital and separate property) and all debts and obligations. There mutual disclosures are called the parties’ “Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure”. The formal disclosures are signed under penalty of perjury. A Final Declaration of Disclosure can be completed at approximately the time of trial or settlement in the case unless the parties mutually agree in writing to waive such final disclosure.

These Declarations of Disclosure consist of special forms required by the court, and except for proof that the parties served each other with such forms, these forms are otherwise not filed with the court. The 4 forms that generally comprise the Declaration of Disclosure are:

1. Declaration of Disclosure (Form FL-140)
2. Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150)
3. Schedule of Assets and Debts (Form FL-142)
4. Declaration of Service of Declaration of Disclosure (Form FL-141)

The purpose of such financial disclosures is to make settlement negotiations easier to proceed because of the generally clear picture of the parties’ financial situation given by such formal disclosure. Moreover, it protects the parties in the event that either spouse failed to disclose all assets.

California law requires that the disclosure documents be completed and served twice, once at the beginning of the divorce (Preliminary) and then again near the end of the case immediately prior to trial or judgment (Final). However, the parties can agree to waive service of the final Declaration of Disclosure, as long as such a waiver is in writing on the appropriate legal paperwork.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Orange County divorce attorney Gerald Maggio at The Maggio Law Firm, by calling (949) 553-0304 or visiting www.Maggiolawfirm.com.

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