What is an Income and Expense Declaration?

After you've filed for divorce (sometimes referred to as the first phase of divorce), you need to complete your Income and Expense Declaration. This involves work that no one enjoys but it must be finished. It is prepared and served (exchanged) by both parties in a divorce, the petitioner and respondent. The parties cannot get divorced without exchanging their Declarations of Disclosure. In order to complete this document, a detailed Income and Expense Declaration is compiled.

The Income and Expense Declaration (Form FL-150 in California) is important since it is used for a variety of financial issues in a family law case. The court uses the declarations to determine issues such as child support, spousal support (alimony), attorney fees, and other financial related issues. These forms are extremely important because if not done correctly, the party can be subject to severe sanctions in the form of attorney fees or an award of an entire asset to the other party. The forms are signed under penalty of perjury.

It is important to note the parties must have a current Income and Expense Declaration filed with the court before any hearing, trial, or any other time that the Court is making a determination on an issue which includes the parties’ finances. One common mistake that occurs is when a party has filed an initial Income and Expense Declaration and believes it will be acceptable during the entire divorce process. Under Rules of Court §5.260(a)(3), “‘Current’ means the form has been completed within the past three months or when facts have changed. The form must be sufficiently completed to allow the court to make an order.” It is important to consider the period of time between appearing in court and an extended duration that exceeds three months at a time.

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