Once a divorcing spouse has filed a petition or response for dissolution in Orange County, the next step will be filing a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure (PDOD). This is a complex process that many clients may find daunting; it involves securing a wide array of documentation concerning the divorcing couple’s bank accounts, property, debts, and any other shared assets. While some divorcing individuals may find this task difficult, California law requires a complete PDOD filing in the early stages of any divorce proceeding.
Elements of a PDOD
Every PDOD aims to cover all the assets in play during a divorce case. There are five general elements to a PDOD:
- Declaration of Disclosure. This is simply a summary of everything listed in the PDOD and will include all personal and corporate tax filings from the past two years.
- Income and Expense Declaration. This document pertains to the divorcing party’s income and must include pay stubs from the past two months as well as a listing of the divorcing party’s income and monthly expenses.
- Schedule of Assets and Debts. This section of the PDOD is the most complicated. The Schedule of Assets and Debts must include all shared and individually owned assets and debts including everything from bank accounts, stock portfolios, student loans, auto loans, and even frequent flyer miles. It’s essential for this section to be as detailed and complete as possible, but the individual filing the Schedule of Assets and Debts may redact account numbers from statements and other documentation to protect privacy.
- Declaration Regarding Service of Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure. This document simply proves one divorcing spouse has served the PDOD to the other spouse.
- Proof of Service. The final component of a PDOD is filed with the Court to notify the court that one of the divorcing spouses has served the PDOD to the other spouse.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
It’s crucial for divorcing spouses to ensure their PDODs are as complete and accurate as possible. If you have filed a PDOD and discover a discrepancy or forgot to list something, you can go back and add it later with minimal issue as long as you do it in a timely fashion. After amending a PDOD you simply need to file another Proof of Service with the court acknowledging the amendment. Knowingly hiding assets or skewing any data in the PDOD can lead to significant monetary sanctions and other penalties.
Hiring an experienced family law attorney is a great option for anyone facing a divorce, even if it is a mutual decision and there are minimal shared assets. A family law attorney can help a divorcing spouse compile a complete and accurate PDOD to help move proceedings along quickly. An experienced Orange County attorney can also help you find the documentation you’ll need that may be hard to find or inaccessible otherwise. Divorces can be emotionally stressful, and an attorney can lighten the burden of building a legal case in these situations as well. Whatever the case may be, family law attorneys help make divorce filings and proceedings run much more smoothly.