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What is a Disclosure Statement?
There is a rule for the Family Court that each party and attorney in all cases must comply with. It is called Rule 49 of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure or ARFLP. This a rule that sets minimum requirements for parties in family law cases. You are to provide detailed documentation for specific time frames regarding the issues in your case such as legal decision-making, parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance, witnesses, attorney’s fees, marital property and debts. The Disclosure Statement, or Rule 49 Disclosure Statement, allows each party to provide detailed descriptions of the information being provided pursuant to Rule 49. This is when you begin providing and receiving documents that may be used at Trial. This is not a document wherein you provide positions and proposed resolutions to the issues. This is simply to provide initial documentation to the other party.
Rule 49 is a tool that is used to assist parties and/or their counsel to be more cooperative with one another in the exchange of information. It is meant to help the parties focus on the issues that are truly being disagreed upon and because of the voluntary exchange of information hopefully assist in resolving these issues. In the same manner as the discovery requests and responses, it is very important that you begin gathering documentation prior to or immediately after your filing that you think you may want to use at trial. This will save you a lot of time throughout your case and will save you a significant amount of money, especially if the other party has an attorney representing him or her.
When do I Complete the Disclosure Statement?
The Disclosure Statement is to be provided to the other party and/or their attorney within 40 calendar days after the filing of the Response to the Initial Petition. Many times these are provided to the other side at the same time that the initial documents in a case are filed or quickly after. This allows both parties to plenty of time to complete the disclosure process prior to a trial.
How do I Provide the Disclosure Statement to the Other Party?
You will “serve” this document on the other party or their attorney. Service of these documents can be completed via mail and do not have to be served via private process server. This documents IS NOT filed with the Clerk of the Court and the other side should receive your original signed document. You should keep a copy for yourself.
Other Information Regarding the Disclosure Statement.
The Disclosure Statement is not used in every case. Many times parties will exchange disclosure in an information way, which may be by letter or in some other way. It would probably be beneficial to do a Disclosure Statement in your case regardless because it will be more detailed and organized and as you locate additional disclosure, you can simply add those descriptions and documents to your original Disclosure Statement. Typically when there is supplemental disclosure, you would name your initial Disclosure Statement as follows: First Supplemental Disclosure Statement, Second Supplemental Disclosure statement and so on. This will save you a lot of time and make it much easier for you and other party to locate documents and to prepare exhibits for trial. Also, at the time the Disclosure Statement is submitted to the other party or their attorney, you should provide a current Affidavit of Financial Information and Proposed Resolution Statement for the case.
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