Property division is likely to be one of the most controversial issues in any Tulsa, OK divorce. Oklahoma upholds an equitable distribution law for property division in divorce. This means the court wants to see the most equitable division of property for a divorcing couple, but this does not necessarily mean the result will be entirely equal. Tulsa, OK couples that choose to divorce may litigate divorce proceedings similar to other civil claims, or they might choose alternative dispute resolution to save time and money on their divorce. Whatever they decide to do, they must settle property division in alignment with Oklahoma state law.

One of the most critical aspects of property division is financial disclosure. The following are some of the most commonly asked questions concerning financial disclosure for divorce. Review these questions and answers to learn more about what to expect in your property division proceedings.

Q: What Does Financial Disclosure Mean?

A: “Financial disclosure” is the process of providing the court with your financial records for divorce proceedings. Both spouses in a divorce must provide complete and accurate financial records. The equitable distribution law of Oklahoma requires divorcing spouses to settle property division in the fairest possible way. To accomplish this, they must have accurate financial records for both parties. Regardless of whether the couple decides to litigate their divorce or pursue alternative dispute resolution, they must complete the financial disclosure process.

Q: What Type of Records Do I Need to Provide?

A: You should plan to provide records of both your individual property and your marital property, and your spouse should do the same. The respective records of your marital property should match very closely if not identically, but both spouses have the right to claim separate property under Oklahoma’s equitable distribution law. You should secure bank statements, deeds, titles, and other proofs of ownership over any property likely to come up in your divorce proceedings.

Q: How Do I Prove My Separate Property Rights?

A: “Separate” property includes anything that only belongs to one of the divorcing spouses. Separate property may include gifts the spouse received during their marriage, from both their spouse and others, property they owned prior to marriage, and inherited property from parents or other family members. You must provide financial records that clearly show your separate property legally belongs only to you.

Q: What Happens If I Helped Improve My Spouse’s Separate Property?

A: It’s possible for some types of separate property in divorce to qualify as marital property under certain conditions. Specifically, if one spouse contributed to improving the value of the other spouse’s separate property in any significant way, the court may deem that property as marital property. For example, if your spouse owned a home before you married and you contributed to paying bills and improving the home over the course of your marriage, the home could ultimately qualify as marital property in divorce due to the extent of your efforts. This “transmutation” principle can apply to various types of property when one spouse contributes to increasing the value of the other spouse’s separate property.

Q: What Happens If Someone Lies in Their Financial Disclosure Statement?

A: It is essential to be truthful and accurate in your financial disclosure statement. While honest mistakes are possible, you should consult your Tulsa, OK divorce lawyer if you have any problems securing the records and documentation you need to submit. While it’s understandable to want to protect your assets, if you intentionally falsify any information in your financial disclosure statement or willfully omit relevant records, you face contempt of court and criminal penalties. You could be liable for any additional legal fees your spouse incurs in addressing the discrepancies in your records as well as fines or even jail time.

Q: How Long Does Financial Disclosure Take in Divorce?

A: The financial disclosure process can be time-consuming and tedious, but it is a necessary component of every divorce case in Tulsa. The court must review both spouses’ financial records to ensure their property division determination aligns with state law. They may need to engage in further review if there are any discrepancies or inconsistencies in the spouses’ respective records. Financial disclosure will also take longer for high net worth individuals and couples who own businesses and complex assets. Ultimately, the timetable required for you and your spouse to complete the financial disclosure process hinges on the unique details of your situation.

Q: What Happens If I Discover Important Financial Information After Divorce?

A: It’s possible for both spouses to overlook or inadvertently omit pertinent information in the financial disclosure process. In this situation, if one of the spouses discovers financial information that should have been addressed in their divorce proceedings, they may need to file a petition for modification of their divorce order. The court will review the new information and the judge handling the case will adjust the couple’s divorce order accordingly.

Q: What Does Financial Disclosure Influence?

A: Every divorce is unique, and one of the most important aspects of a divorce is determining the divorcing spouses’ respective property ownership rights after dividing their marital property. However, financial disclosure is also crucial for determining child support obligations as well as alimony. While most family courts in equitable distribution states strive to avoid long-term spousal support agreements, alimony could come into play if one spouse were entirely dependent on the other for financial support. An accurate financial disclosure has a significant impact on various aspects of a divorce.

Hopefully, these answers help you understand financial disclosure and its importance in greater detail. Preparing for a divorce can be incredibly difficult, and the emotional aspect of a divorce is likely to make addressing practical concerns like financial disclosure more challenging. A Tulsa, OK divorce lawyer is an invaluable asset in any divorce, especially when you are unsure how to secure all the financial records you need to supply for your divorce. If you have specific questions about financial disclosure in your impending divorce case, contact an experienced Tulsa, OK divorce attorney as soon as possible.