29 Jul Income and Expense Declaration – How Do I Know if it is Current?
We are up to I in our Divorce from A to Z series. I in Divorce Court is for Income and Expense Declaration. This form is one that you will become very familar with during your divorce. In divorce court, an income and expense declaration is used by the Judge or Commissioner to make any decision where money is concerned. This includes child support, spousal support, attorneys fees, and payment of expenses. If you want a Judge to order your spouse to do something related to money in a divorce case, then you better make sure your income and expense declaration is current.
What is a “current” income and expense declaration?
Excellent question. The answer is, as usual, is it depends. As an attorney, I think I have uttered the words “it depends” more than any others. For income and expense declarations, the variables are the county your case is located in and the state of the information contained in your last income and expense declaration. For some counties, your income and expense declaration is considered current if it is no more than 90 days old. In others, the income and expense declaration stays current for up to 6 months. There is one caveat, the information in the prior income and expense declaration must be unchanged between the date that the court is looking at it and the date it was filed. So if you have flucuating income you are going to need to update your income and expense declaration more often than someone who receives a set salary.
How will I know my county’s rules?
By sacrificing a goat to the county family law court clerks and begging for mercy. Not really, but in family law court it can often feel like an animal sacrifice might be the only way to be admitted to the circle of persons who know what must be done. Unfortunately, despite state wide efforts to simplify the divorce process, the truth remains that each county and even each judge has a set of rules, both written and unwritten that you will be held accountable for. The first place to look to find out the life span of an income and expense declaration is to look at the county’s local rules for Family Law. If it is not there, ask the clerk when you file your paperwork or ask the Judge at your first hearing.
Am I obligated to update my income and expense declaration automatically?
No, unless you are going to appear in court and the prior one is out of date or the information is no longer accurate. This issue will come up and sometimes bite you if you are not prepared because often times in divorce court you are going to have more than one hearing to get a matter completely resolved. For example, you file a motion for child custody and child support. You and your spouse appear at the hearing and are told that in order to make custody orders you have to go to child custody recommending counseling or child custody mediation. The court sets a date out about 3 months from the first court date to allow you to comply. By the time you return for your next hearing, your income and expense declaration is probably 4 to 5 months old depending on how long before the initial hearing date you filed it. So at least 5 days before your court hearing, you should review it and file a new one if it is beyond the county’s allowable time period or if any of the information therein has changed.
Income and Expense Declarations are part of the Initial Financial Disclosures (Step 2 of the divorce process). If you need help with these declarations, knowing where and when to file, and your local rules, please check out our attorney assistance with Initial Financial Disclosures.
LEGAL ADVERTISEMENT. This is just a basic overview and is not legal advice specific to your situation. You should consult qualified legal counsel with questions regarding your situation.