A frustrating but mandatory part of the divorce process in California is completing financial disclosure forms. One of these forms is the Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150), which requires both the Petitioner and Respondent to detail their earnings and spending.
It can be complicated
The FL-150 contains a lot of personal information. You must disclose all sources of income, not just your primary employment income. You must also calculate your monthly income. This must be done carefully, and the amount can differ substantially depending on whether you are paid semi-monthly or bi-weekly. If you earn commissions and bonuses, you will likely want to attach a declaration explaining what the base salary is, and what other payments are discretionary or fluctuating on a month-to-month basis. You must also attach your last 2 months’ worth of paystubs. The value of other assets you have access to, including stock portfolios, cash on hand, real estate, and checking/savings accounts, should be listed in Section 11 of the FL-150.
The FL-150 also requires you to provide tax information, including what year you last filed taxes, how many exemptions you claimed, and whether you filed jointly/separately or single/head of household.
The form also provides a section for individuals to list what deductions are taken from their monthly income. Most of the deductions such as union dues and mandatory retirement payments are listed on your paycheck, but the form also asks about spousal and child support obligations from other relationships.
The parties are also asked to complete a large section that outlines average monthly expenses. People often struggle trying to calculate how much they spend on categories like clothes and laundry, but the goal here is a rough approximation. On the other hand, mortgage and rent amounts should be more precise. It is helpful to achieve a reasonably accurate calculation of monthly expenses so you know what your expenses might look like after the divorce.
We can help
Judges often make decisions about the financial responsibilities of the parties during and after separation based on information submitted with the Income and Expense Declaration. Completing the form correctly will give you more credibility with the Court and listing your assets will help you think about what’s worth fighting for in a divorce. Speak with a JWB divorce attorney in San Diego to make sure you get it right.
The Importance of the CFLS Designation
A Certified Family Law Specialist, or CFLS, is an attorney who has obtained certification in the standards of California family law and demonstrated optimal legal competence. Attorneys who obtain this certification have specific expertise in all aspects of family law, which includes divorce or the dissolution of marriage, child and spousal support, child custody, and temporary restraining orders, among other areas of emphasis.
Not every attorney practicing family law has obtained this certification. In fact, the designation remains relatively rare—there are fewer than 2,000 CFLS attorneys in California and fewer than 200 in San Diego.