x N. Lawrence Hudspeth III

Truth or Consequences: Understanding Full Financial Disclosure in North Carolina Divorces

Date Posted: September 28, 2023 12:44 am

Truth or Consequences: Understanding Full Financial Disclosure in North Carolina Divorces


Marriage, in its essence, is all about mutual respect, honesty, and truthfulness between people who decide to spend the rest of their lives together. When you take honesty and respect out of the equation, there is little left to keep spouses together. In such a scenario, divorce is inevitable.

Your marriage might be on the verge of collapse due to a lack of honesty and openness, causing anxiety, depression, and emotional distress for everyone involved. But in the North Carolina divorce process, ignoring the truth – especially in financial matters – can leave you with serious legal consequences.

This blog post will demystify North Carolina’s financial disclosure rules and explain the consequences of inadequate disclosure while highlighting the significance of quality legal representation in ensuring transparency and fairness during divorce proceedings.

The Foundation of Fairness: Full Financial Disclosure

In North Carolina, transparency is the cornerstone of a fair divorce procedure. As an equitable distribution system, it prioritizes acquiring accurate financial information that results in just decisions about marital property division, child custody and support, alimony, and other financial aspects of marriage dissolution. The primary goal of the North Carolina divorce is getting an accurate and complete picture of both spouses’ financial situation.

Full financial disclosure is a key to a transparent process and a basis for fair and informed decisions shaping the future of former spouses and their children.

Only with a comprehensive understanding of the collapsing marriage and its financial landscape judicial system can reach evidence-based and fair resolutions.

What Counts as Full Financial Disclosure?

Now that you know the significance of financial transparency in the North Carolina divorce proceedings – let us explain what financial disclosure is and what counts as complete transparency in court.

North Carolina law provides a Financial Disclosure form both spouses must fill out and submit during the divorce process. Here is what information qualifies as full financial disclosure:

  • Assets and Liabilities:

Assets and liabilities are what constitute everyone’s property. The Financial Disclosure form primarily focuses on these two aspects of your financial world, just as doctors focus on accurately diagnosing your health condition.

Assets encompass real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, investments, retirement accounts, jewelry, and other valuable items.

On the other hand, debts are loans, credit card balances, mortgages, and other financial obligations.

  • Income:

While assets count as a static aspect of your property, income is the dynamic part – it shows the money flow and how you built your assets. You should include the following income sources in the Financial Disclosure form: salaries, rental income, bonuses, business profits, investments, and other financial gains.

  • Expenses:

The North Carolina Financial Disclosure form categorizes monthly expenditures, such as housing, groceries, utilities, education, childcare, healthcare, and other regular expenses.

  • Tax Returns and Filings:

Finally, a complete financial disclosure cannot work without including past tax returns and current tax filings.

Can an Inadequate Disclosure Put Me in Trouble?

Can an Inadequate Disclosure Put Me in Trouble?

Transparency is the essence of North Carolina’s court proceedings, especially in family matters. It promotes the courts’ integrity and the citizens’ trust in the judicial system. Any disrespect to rules regulating transparency and disclosures undermines the foundations of the system as a whole.

When we put that in the financial disclosure context, it is clear that failing to provide complete and accurate financial data during divorce proceedings can produce serious repercussions. Here is what ignoring the truth and hiding financial information during the court process can expose you to in North Carolina:

  • Contempt of Court: Intentionally failing to disclose financial information during divorce can lead to contempt charges. Essentially, it means disrespecting the court’s rules and procedural integrity. Contempt charges can result in fines, penalties, or even imprisonment. When determining whether your failure to disclose relevant information qualifies as contempt, the judge will consider various circumstances, such as the nature of your behavior, your intention, and potential objective obstacles that might have prevented you from disclosing all the information.
  • Unequal Distribution of Assets: Non-disclosure typically serves the purpose of hiding the assets. In other words, spouses fail to disclose information about marital assets with the intent to hide them and prevent equitable distribution. The court, however, does not look at these attempts compassionately. The judge can award more assets to the complying party to punish a spouse disregarding the disclosure rules.
  • Set-Aside Agreements: Finally, if the court finds out one of the spouses is failing to disclose accurate financial information, it can set aside agreements and nullify all the settlements parties made during the process, forcing them to renegotiate or go to trial.

How Can an Attorney Help Me Achieve Full Financial Disclosure?

North Carolina law does not require you to have professional legal representation during the divorce process. However, navigating the complex legal landscape of financial disclosures is unthinkable without the help of an experienced family attorney. A skilled lawyer will explain the financial disclosure rules and help you grasp the legal requirements for complete financial transparency. With a well-versed attorney, you can go through the process confidently without fear of legal consequences resulting from non-compliance with financial disclosure rules.

Here are key areas where a family lawyer can assist you in North Carolina financial disclosure:

  1. Educating You on Legal Obligations: Your attorney will lay out the legal requirements for financial disclosure and help you gather and submit all necessary documents and information, avoiding legal consequences.
  1. Facilitating Communication: An attorney can facilitate communication between you and your former spouse, helping you keep communication lines open during a crisis.
  1. Negotiating Fairly: If you and your spouse decide to resolve matters out of court, using some of the alternative methods, your attorney will protect your interests and stand by your side during negotiations, ensuring anything you settle with your former spouse is fair and just.
Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways

  • A lack of openness with your spouse leads to divorce but ignoring the truth in the North Carolina divorce process may result in serious legal consequences.
  • Full financial disclosure is a cornerstone of divorce proceedings, ensuring courts make informed decisions on marital property, child support, alimony, and other issues.
  • The North Carolina Financial Disclosure form includes information about assets and liabilities, income and expenses, and tax returns and filings.
  • Failing to disclose accurate financial information during the divorce process may result in contempt of court, unequal distribution of assets, and setting aside agreements.
  • Hiring an experienced family attorney is crucial; they can educate you on financial disclosure requirements, facilitate communication between you and your spouse, and help you negotiate.

Transparency Made Simple: North Carolina Divorce Expert

Larry Hudspeth is a top-tier North Carolina family attorney with experience stretching back to 1989. Throughout his eventful career, Larry has successfully dealt with hundreds of family cases, ranging from highly contested divorces to child custody to alimony.

In his view, honesty and transparency in financial matters are paramount. Larry will not only help you fulfill legal requirements concerning full financial disclosure. He will educate you on the importance of acting fairly and transparently because that is the soil that bears the best fruits of justice.

Please reach out today at (910) 455-9921 or email us at info@lhudspethfamilylaw.com to schedule your confidential consultation.