At the beginning of every divorce case filed in Massachusetts, both parties must exchange certain financial records with each other. This process is often called Supplemental Rule 410 or Rule 410 disclosures.
The purpose for this procedural rule is to ensure that both parties cooperate and exchange financial documents early in the divorce process, so that financial assets, debt and issues can be identified and each party can complete an accurate financial statement, which will also be exchanged with your spouse and filed with the court. Since this is a court rule, this financial exchange of documents is a mandatory requirement for both parties who must timely gather documents and deliver them to the opposing party’s attorney within 45 days of the complaint and summons being served to the defendant. There are circumstances in which you and your spouse can agree to waive the production of Rule 410 disclosures, but unless there is an agreement (preferably in writing), you both are obligated to comply with this rule. The production of Rule 410 documents is one of the most important aspects to the divorce process, as it ensures that you and your spouse have an opportunity to review records and ensure you have an understanding of the other spouse’s finances.
The requirements are rather extensive and it’s important that you pay careful attention to the collection of all the appropriate documents. The rule requires each party to a divorce action and to a complaint for separate support to deliver specific documents to the other party within 45 days from the date of summons.
Federal and state income tax returns and schedules for the past 3 years and any non-public, limited partnership and privately held corporate returns for any entity in which either party has an interest together with all supporting documentation for tax returns, including but not limited to W-2’s, 1099’s, 1098’s, K-1, Schedule C and Schedule E.
The 4 most recent pay stubs from each employer for whom the party worked.
Documentation regarding the cost and nature of available health insurance coverage.
Statements for the past 3 years for all bank accounts held by either party individually or jointly, 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).
Statements for the past 3 years for any 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, IRA statements, and pension plan statements for all accounts listed on the 401 financial statement.
Copies of any loan or mortgage applications made, prepared or submitted by either party within the last 3 years prior to the filing of the complaint.
Copies of any financial statement and/or statement of assets and liabilities prepared by either party within the last 3 years prior to the filing of the complaint.
If there are any material changes to the information you have already provided during your case, you must disclose and supplement those changes.
This is important because you have to sign the financial statement under the “pains and penalties of perjury” (which means if you give false information, you could be charged criminally with telling a lie under oath).
In the event you are not able to obtain the required documents within the required 45 day period, you will have to state in writing (under the penalties of perjury) the specific documents that are unavailable along with reasons why, noting the efforts that you’ve made to obtain the documents. As the information becomes available to you, you must supplement and disclose it to the other party.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this process, please be sure to speak with an Massachusetts divorce lawyer.