A much needed mandatory self-disclosure rule is coming to New Hampshire on December 1, 2011. The concept of the rule is to streamline the discovery process by exchanging required financial documents early in the litigation process so that each party has the information they need to be prepared for mediation and a temporary hearing. The rule should also reduce common disputes, such as relevancy, that unnecessarily take up court time and increase litigation costs.
Family Division Rule 1.25-A applies to all new actions in the family division for:
· legal separation
· civil union dissolution
An abbreviated version of the rules applies that requires disclosure of documents described sections (a) through (e) in the following cases:
· parenting petitions
· child support petitions
· petitions to enforce or change court orders in parenting, divorce, legal separation, or civil union dissolution cases
Parties must provide the above documents no later than either forty-five (45) days from the date of service/delivery of the petition or ten (10) days prior to the temporary hearing or initial hearing on the petition, whichever is earlier. A First Appearance does not qualify as an initial hearing.
The rule obligates each party to provide the following documents to the other party:
(a) A current financial affidavit in the format required by family division rule 2.16, including the monthly expense form.
(b) The past three (3) years’ personal and business federal and state income tax returns and partnership and corporate returns for any non-public entity in which either party has an interest, together with all tax return schedules, including but not limited to W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, K-1s, Schedule C, Schedule E and any other schedules filed with the IRS.
(c) The four (4) most recent pay stubs (or equivalent documentation) from each current employer, and the year-end pay stub (or equivalent documentation) for the calendar year that concluded prior to the filing of the action.
(d) For business owners or self-employed parties, all monthly, quarterly and year-to-date financial statements to include profit and loss, balance sheet and income statements for the year in which the action was filed; and all year-end financial statements for the calendar year that concluded prior to the filing of the action.
(e) Documentation confirming the cost and status of enrollment of employer provided medical and dental insurance coverage for:
i. The party,
ii. The party’s spouse, and
iii. The party’s dependent child(ren).
(f) For the twelve (12) months prior to the filing of the action, any credit, loan and/or mortgage applications, or other sworn statement of assets and/or liabilities, prepared by or on behalf of either party.
(g) For the twelve (12) months prior to the filing of the action, documentation related to employee benefits such as but not limited to stock options, retirement, pension, travel, housing, use of company car, mileage reimbursement, profit sharing, bonuses, commissions, membership dues, or any other payments to or on behalf of either party.
(h) For the twelve (12) months prior to the filing of the action, statements for all bank accounts held in the name of either party individually or jointly, or any business owned by either party, or in the name of another person for the benefit of either party, or held by either party for the benefit of the parties’ minor child(ren).
(i) For the twelve (12) months prior to the filing of the action, statements for all financial assets, including but not limited to all investment accounts, retirement accounts, securities, stocks, bonds, notes or obligations, certificates of deposit owned or held by either party or held by either party for the benefit of the parties’ minor child(ren), 401K statements, individual retirement account (IRA) statements, and pension-plan statements.
(j) For the twelve (12) months prior to the filing of the action, any and all life insurance declaration pages, beneficiary designation forms and the most recent statements of cash, surrender and loan value.
(k) For the six (6) months prior to the filing of the action, statements for all credit cards held by either party, whether individually or jointly.
(l) Any written prenuptial or written postnuptial agreements signed by the parties.