After filing the Petition for Dissolution each side must serve a disclosure statement that sets forth their income, expenses, property, debts and reimbursement requests. This form is called a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure. Each party also has the opportunity to ask questions of the other spouse who is required to give responses to the questions under penalty of perjury. The questions may be asked informally in a letter; by sending written questions called interrogatories or requests for admission; or in person at a deposition. This process of obtaining information from your spouse is called “discovery.”
Each spouse also has the opportunity to request that the other spouse provide a list of documents relating to issues being litigated in the divorce. These documents often include tax returns, general ledgers, profit and loss statements, paycheck stubs, W-2 forms, bank statements, financial statements and other similar documents. The documents are reviewed to create a community property balance sheet; determine cash flow available for payment of child and/or spousal support; to develop trial exhibits and questions; and for many other purposes.