What is a Disclosure Statement and Why Do I have to Fill One Out?

college studentA Disclosure Statement is a financial document that requests information regarding a parties’ income and expenses as well as any assets they may own.  Cook County Local Rule 13.3.1 mandates the exchange of Disclosure Statements in every case, whether it’s a divorce or a custody case. Furthermore, a party must have submitted a Disclosure Statement first before requesting discovery from the other party.  Other counties have similar rules but the documents may have different names.

A Disclosure Statement is a statement that is made under oath and is signed before a public notary.  It is very important that all of the information on there is accurate, and if an accurate answer cannot be given, it must be clear that the answer is an estimate.  Oftentimes parties do not take their answers to a Disclosure Statement seriously when there are no financial issues in a case.  However, a blatant lie on a Disclosure Statement can be used to impeach a parties’ testimony and therefore ruin the parties’ credibility as to other issues, such as custody.  Once a Judge determines that you lied on a Disclosure Statement, he or she will be less likely to believe anything else you say.

Although the thought of filing one out may be overwhelming, it is important that you fill it out to the best of your ability and ask your attorney for help in clarifying any questions you may have.

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