Most counties have some sort of requirement for a financial declaration. The Connersville judges have created the following Local Rule which is a bit more detailed than other counties. Note that this Rule makes appraisals and the actual Financial Declaration mandatory discovery. In other words, getting this information does not require filing a Motion to Produce.
I still am not so sure that we (that is the lawyers and the judges) really know how to use these financial declarations for anything but impeachment (impeachment being how we lawyers undermine a witness' credibility). Last month, I had the unfortunate experience of seeing an opposing attorney take apart my client with the use of a financial declaration and his income tax returns. Hint: honesty is the best policy - honesty with your lawyer and honesty on tax returns. Regardless of how hard I tried, I could not convince the judge that what appeared a scam by my client was actually ignorance and haste.
I wish I had a better handle (or more time) to translate one of these financial declaration forms into a spreadsheet - that might make them more useful for dividing property in a dissolution of marriage case. Anyone want to take the hint?
The actual Rule follows and you can find the form by following this link
Fayette County LR21-FL00-FL-6
In all relevant family law matters, including dissolutions of marriage, separations, post-decree and support proceedings, the party filing the petition/motion shall provide to the opposing party or his or her legal counsel, if applicable, a fully completed Financial Declaration Form with all required attachments within forty-five (45) days of the filing of such petition/motion. The opposing party shall provide to the petitioning party or his or her legal counsel, if applicable, a fully completed Financial Declaration Form with all required attachments within fifty (50) days of the filing of the petition/motion.
The Financial Declaration Form need not be exchanged if: the parties agree in writing within fifty (50) days of the filing of the petition/motion to waive exchange; the parties have executed a written agreement which settles all financial issues; the proceeding is one in which the service is by publication and there is no response; the proceeding is post-decree and concerns issues without financial implications; provided, however, when the proceeding is post-decree and concerns an arrearage, the alleged delinquent party shall complete the entire Form, while the support recipient need complete only that portion which requires specification of the basis of the arrearage calculation (with appropriate supporting documentation); or, the Court otherwise waives such requirement. Subject to specific evidentiary challenges, the Financial Declaration Form shall be admissible into evidence. For the purpose of providing a full and complete verification of assets, liabilities and values, each party shall attach to the Financial Declaration Form all information reasonably required and reasonably available. This shall include recent bills, wage and tax records, bank records, pension and retirement account information, and mortgage account records. The term "reasonably available" means that material which may be obtained by letter accompanied with an authorization, but such term does not mean material that must be subpoenaed or is in the possession of the other party. Appraisals of real estate or personal property, or pension valuations are not required. However, once an appraisal or valuation is obtained it must be exchanged. Further, the Court may direct that an appraisal or valuation be obtained, just as it may designate the appraiser or valuator. The Court may require either party to supplement the Financial Declaration Form with appraisals, bank records, and other evidence to support the values set forth in the Form.
The exchange of financial declaration forms constitutes mandatory discovery. Thus, Indiana Trial Rule 37 sanctions apply. Additionally, pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 26(E) (2) and (3), the Financial Declaration Form shall be supplemented if information changes or is added or if additional material becomes available. Any additional discovery such as Requests for Production, Interrogatories, or Depositions of the parties to the action shall not commence until the Financial Declaration Form has been exchanged. Any further discovery shall not seek to obtain information already obtained by the Financial Declaration Form.
Whenever the interest of privacy so requires, the Court may, upon proper Motion, direct that the Financial Declaration Form(s) be sealed until further order of the court. However, such request(s) shall not be made as a matter of course. When ordered sealed, the Court Reporter shall place the Financial Declaration Form(s) in a flat manner in an envelope of sufficient size, seal the envelope, and affix a copy of the Order directing that the Financial Declaration Form(s) be placed under seal. Financial Declaration Form(s) may be withdrawn at the conclusion of the case on such terms as the Court may allow. Upon the filing of any family law matter referred to in Rule 6(A), the Clerk shall provide to the moving party upon filing and to the non-moving party by service a Notice of the requirement of this Rule. Such Notice shall be in a form substantially as follows:
You are advised that the moving party is required to provide to the opposing party or his or her legal counsel, if applicable, a fully completed Financial Declaration Form with all required attachments within forty-five (45) days of the filing of such petition/motion. The opposing party shall provide to the petitioning party or his or her legal counsel, if applicable, a fully completed Financial Declaration Form with all required attachments within fifty (50) days of the filing of the petition/motion.
Failure to timely provide a fully completed Financial Declaration Form with all required attachments may be result in sanctions being entered against the party failing to file the Form.