You might be familiar with some of the requirements to initiate the divorce process in South Carolina, such as being a resident for at least 3 months. You will also need to state either fault-based or no-fault grounds for divorce. However, there is another rule that kicks in shortly after you file, and it is an important one. South Carolina requires a Financial Declaration in any domestic relations suit in which finances are an issue, and each party must submit their statement. The documents must be provided before the first hearing or within 45 days after serving the petition for dissolution of marriage, whichever is later.
Many people view financial disclosures as merely an exchange of information that spouses already know about each other, but you might be surprised how impactful they can be. Your Charleston divorce lawyer will handle essential tasks for putting the financial declaration together, but a summary is also useful.
Why Initial Disclosures are Important:
Submitting your financial information is essential because it is the law, and there can be serious penalties for noncompliance. However, the declaration is also important because it sets the stage for key divorce issues and may even help you uncover misconduct. For instance:
- In divorce, property division laws require the equitable distribution of marital assets between the parties. To ensure the split is fair, the court needs to review all property and debts.
- Financial details are crucial for the judge to decide whether alimony is proper, and the court uses the information to establish the type, amount, and duration.
- When a divorce involves minor children, the parties must address child custody and visitation. Even with a co-parenting situation, the nonresidential parent will typically be paying child support. South Carolina law takes into account the income of both parents, so financial declarations enable the court to set a child support obligation.
- With many divorce cases, parties work out some or all of the key issues by agreement. Having the full financial picture in front of you is critical for negotiations on property division and alimony.
- Financial disclosures are provided under oath, so each party will swear and attest that the information is true. It is perjury to violate the law, providing discouragement from hiding assets.
What to Include in Financial Declarations:
The information you must provide is exhaustive, but it is not complicated when you break down the disclosures into assets and debts. You should include:
- Real estate, vehicles, RVs, and boats;
- Bank, retirement, investment, and pension details;
- Ownership interests in a business;
- Your mortgage, auto loans, credit cards, and lines of credit; and,
- Any other relevant details.
Speak to a Charleston County Divorce Attorney to Learn More About the Process
Financial disclosures are an important part of a South Carolina divorce case, and you can trust our team at the Peck Law Firm to leverage this information to your advantage. For details on how the laws apply to your situation, please call 843.631.7117 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer can help you understand what to expect.