Colorado Divorce Process

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    Duty of Disclosure

    There is an affirmative duty of disclosure during the Colorado divorce process under C.R.C.P. 16.2. This means that both parties are obligated to disclose all relevant information to each other even if the information is not specifically requested by the other party. This duty applies both to financial information and information that might be relevant to a child-related case. Below is a list of documents required for disclosure in an Aspen divorce or Vail child-custody dispute:

    1. Sworn Financial Statement (“SFS”) and, if applicable, Supplemental Schedule – a link to the Colorado Supreme Court approved form for a SFS is here. The Supplemental Schedule can be found here.
    2. Income Tax Returns
    3. Personal Financial Statements
    4. Business Financial Statements
    5. Real Estate Documents
    6. Credit Card Statements and Personal Debt Documents
    7. Investments
    8. Employment Benefits
    9. Retirement Plans/Accounts
    10. Bank Statements
    11. Pay Stubs and Income Documentation
    12. Child Care Expenses
    13. Insurance Policies
    14. Extraordinary Children’s Expenses

    For things like tax returns and financial statements, people are required to produce the last 3 years. The last month’s statement must be disclosed for credit card, investment and bank accounts. The most recent pay stub is required for salaried employees. For self-employed individuals, a separate statement of net income for the last three months is necessary along with a summary of gross income and necessary business expenses. We recommend clients start gathering financial materials as soon as possible to allow adequate time for me to organize and review them.

    If you do not have a particular type of document contemplated in Form 35.1 — for example, a business financial statement — that is fine. You need only disclose documents in your possession or control. However, you should view the list as a minimum for an Aspen or Vail divorce.

    If there are documents regarding your finances that would be helpful to understand your financial circumstances, those should be produced whether listed or not and regardless of whether requested. We will discuss whether it strategically makes sense to disclose those additional documents depending on your case. As a general rule, it is far better to disclose more than required or requested. Lack of disclosure, delayed disclosure, or partial disclosure is not only contrary to the rules but it can create suspicion which will result in the cost of the case growing exponentially. Either party may be able to re-open a case for as long as five years after it is completed if it is determined that lack of disclosure had a material impact on the outcome.

    Sworn Financial Statement & Financial Analysis

    Your SFS is a very important document. The general idea is to give a snapshot of your current assets and debts, as well as your income and expenses. If you do not know much about your assets/debts, or you do not have any income, it is okay.

    If you will be seeking maintenance or support, a full accounting of your expenses will ultimately be vital in determining that issue. Similarly, if it is likely that you will be paying maintenance or support it is essential to accurately disclose and explain your income.

    We use a premium software program to analyze the financial aspects of a case. The program, Family Law Software, allows my clients to upload their financial information via the web. Clients can also download a copy of the program that has limited features, but allows for revising and editing their financial info. We are able to produce a draft Sworn Financial Statement at the click of a button. We will review your draft, schedule a meeting, answer any questions and strategically advise you on certain aspects of your SFS. We can also run various models to give you an overview of possible maintenance, child support or property division scenarios.

    Your SFS and mandatory disclosures need to be complete no later than 42 days after service of a petition or the filing date of a post-decree motion involving financial issues. Therefore, you must upload as much data as possible to Family Law Software substantially before that deadline if we are to have adequate time to complete an accurate SFS.

    Mandatory Initial Status Conference

    An initial status conference will be scheduled around the same time that your SFS and mandatory disclosures are due. For Vail divorces and cases in Eagle County, you must attend this conference in person. Currently attendance by the parties to an Aspen divorce or child-custody dispute in Pitkin and Garfield is not required and the attorneys can conduct the conference by telephone. The purpose of the conference, which is usually with the Family Court Facilitator, is to discuss issues that may arise during the course of the proceedings. The actual conduct of the conference varies so much from each jurisdiction that we will advise you about what is likely to occur depending on where the conference will be held.