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An important part of any divorce is reviewing the financial disclosure papers from each spouse. Your NYC matrimonial lawyer’s responsibility includes getting these papers. The papers are necessary to make informed decisions about the divorce and any settlements. A problem can occur if a spouse decides not to send the paperwork. There are consequences for doing that. Here is what you can do and what might happen if your spouse will not provide the financial disclosure documentation.
Send a Written Request
The first step you should take if a spouse refuses to file financial disclosure papers is to send a formal written request. You will need to compose a letter asking your spouse to file the appropriate paperwork and provide it to you within 30 days of receiving the notice. Send the letter to your spouse and your spouse’s attorney through certified mail. This letter should always be your first course of action since the court will expect it. Give your spouse the full 30 days to comply with the letter before you move on to the next step.
Motion to Compel
If the written request does not work, then it is time to file a motion to compel through the courts. This type of motion can potentially force your spouse to give up the necessary financial disclosure paperwork. The court will directly request that your spouse provide the documents by a certain date. Your spouse will have no other real choice other than to comply or face punitive actions. Your spouse could provide a written response with the reasons why the forms have not yet been filed. That could delay the divorce by some amount although the papers will still eventually have to be presented.
If your spouse refuses to comply with the motion to compel, then the court is likely to start imposing monetary sanctions as punishment. These are basically fines that could be paid to you and the court. You can actually request them if you are represented by an experienced divorce attorney. The fines could be purely punitive and paid to the court. They could also be used to cover your attorney and other fees that were necessary to get the financial disclosure documents from your spouse during the divorce.
Terminating Sanctions Motion
If all else fails, then it is time to file a terminating sanctions motion with the court. If this motion is granted, then two things could potentially happen. The first is that a judge will impose evidentiary sanctions. This means your spouse will be barred from presenting certain information and evidence most likely related to finances during the divorce proceedings. A lawyer could also ask that the court enter in a default judgment for your spouse. This means that you could get a ruling in your favor without having to go through a trial because your spouse defaulted by not providing the necessary documentation.
Contempt and Jail Time
A final option that could occur if your spouse refuses to supply financial disclosure papers is being held in contempt of court. This will depend on the actions of your spouse and the disposition of the judge. Being held in contempt of court has many dire consequences. The harshest is being sentenced to jail time. A judge might put your spouse in a local jail until the paperwork is provided. Your spouse might also be ordered to spend a weekend in jail coupled with monetary fines. These actions are meant to be a last resort to compel your spouse to offer up the documents.
This guest blog post was written by PersonalInjuryLawyersNYC.com