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Pay Attention to the Forms

Kansas and Missouri courts have created financial forms for each party in a divorce case to disclose their income, assets, debts and property valuations to the other party.

Clients often give these forms a half-hearted effort. This is short-sighted because these forms are important, especially if the case goes to trial.

Divorce courts require this information in the interests of full disclosure to the other spouse — and to the court — in considering an equitable division of the marital property. Through this disclosure, sometimes an unknown asset or debt is discovered, or a depleted value of an account is revealed–very informative to the spouse, and very helpful in getting cases settled or prepared for a trial.

These forms also identify claims to premarital or non-marital property, which may not matter in a divorce between two relatively young adults, but may be quite relevant in second marriages, long or later-life marriages. Giving short shrift to this disclosure may have consequences; an asset that should have been non-marital and therefore not subject to division could be deemed to be a marital asset–simply because of improper identification and handling on the forms.

Give the forms the attention they deserve by fully and fairly identifying the marital estate, and by getting guidance from your attorney.

The downside can be significant. A recent Missouri case involved accurately disclosing one’s financial situation on a court-created Income and Expense form. The wife’s claim for maintenance (formerly known as alimony) was denied where she inflated her claimed expenses in filling out her court form. The result was the court was sufficiently annoyed by her deceit that she lost out on the opportunity for spousal support. Bad decision on her part to not take the forms seriously.

Fill out the forms completely, spend the time needed to make sure they are accurate, and have your lawyer help you get them right.

Richard Ralls of Ralls Law Firm can assist you in determining whether you can enforce grandparent rights. Call us at 913 236 7260 or 816 421 4222. Licensed in Kansas and Missouri.