Mandatory Financial Disclosures

Bank account document and penDuring your marriage, you have likely pooled your resources with your spouse to build your future together and try to attain your goals. Whether your marriage has been just a few months long or you have been married for decades, you and your spouse have likely acquired some marital property.  Minnesota is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that marital property will be equitably divided by the court during a divorce. Equitable does not always mean equal, and the court will look to a specific set of factors when deciding how the marital assets should be divided. Obviously, before this can be done, the parties need to know exactly what assets and debts they have. To that end, all divorcing parties are required to complete a Mandatory Financial Disclosure.

During the divorce, both parties are required to file a financial disclosure. This disclosure must include not only a list of the assets and debts that the spouse believes are marital assets and debts, but any assets or any debts the spouse owns or owes. There are several reasons for this. One reason is that when the Minnesota court makes a division of assets, it may consider the separate assets and resources available to each party. Another reason is if one spouse is requesting spousal maintenance, it is important for the court to know what types of assets are at the spouse’s disposal, as substantial separate assets may mean the requesting party does not actually need spousal maintenance at all. Finally, just because one spouse believes a particular asset is separate property does not mean the court will agree. Disclosing a full list of all assets allows the parties to make arguments about the nature of all assets.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous spouses may lie on their financial disclosures in an attempt to hide marital or separate assets. If a spouse lies on his or her disclosure, the penalties can be severe. For example, the wronged spouse can take the lying spouse back to court even after the divorce is over seeking for a hidden asset to be divided. In such a case, it is likely the wronged spouse will receive a larger share of that asset, or in some circumstances be awarded the entirety of the asset.

If you have questions about your divorce and how assets may be divided, contact us today at (651) 371-9117. We can talk with you about case and your goals.