money bills

How to Properly Fill Out a Schedule of Assets and Debts

You know your assets best. That’s why even the best lawyer needs help filling out a Schedule of Assets and Debts which can save you time and money in your divorce.

My Experience with Judicial Council Form FL-142

In my years of working in family law, I have never had a client properly fill out this form, but that’s okay. Clients are just that: Clients. Lawyers are here to fill out the forms properly. However, the savvy client knows that for every segment of an hour that their client uses an attorney for completing their forms, the client has to pay. You can avoid excess time spent on your Preliminary or Final Declarations of Disclosure by learning about the Schedule of Assets and Debts form to save time and money.

Your job as the client is to provide a rough draft of this document so that the lawyer can finalize it. It is imperative that you — as the client — disclose all of your assets during the divorce process, whether you claim them to be marital property or separate property. This is because, in California, each spouse has a duty to disclose all of their assets upon divorce. In certain circumstances, courts have overturned a previously completed divorce due to one spouse’s failure to disclose assets. Do not let this happen to you because you neglected to list all your assets.

Completing form FL-142: step by step

filling out a form
Item 1: Real Estate

This is pretty simple. Here, you list the street address of your real estate property, the fair market value, and how much is owed. Include copies of deeds and the latest lender statement. If you own more than one property, provide the necessary information for all of them. Be sure to include any separate properties that you or your spouse own.

Item 2: Household Furniture, Etc.

Very few people have the patience to inventory their entire household. I would not recommend it. It is best to group things together such as living room furniture, dining set, bedroom furniture, TVs, entertainment system, etc. If you have pieces that are particularly valuable, list them separately. If you have receipts, insurance, or valuations for those items, it would be helpful to include that information as well.  Remember that the value of these used items is only what someone will pay for it today. Use Craigslist, e-Bay, or garage sale prices to value the items. Keep in mind that you want to be as complete and thorough as possible when listing community property; it’ll help the divorce process go much more smoothly.

Item 3: Jewelry & Antiques, Etc.

List items valued over $500 today. This includes collections, artwork, and things of that nature. Do not include things that are gifts. Wedding rings are considered gifts and are not listed.

Item 4: Vehicles, Boats, Etc.

If you own any vehicles, list each one separately, provide a copy of the pink slip, registration, and loan document. Be complete as to actual make, model, year, and mileage. Use the basic Edmunds or Kelly Blue Book value here to determine the fair market value. If you have boats or other recreational vehicles, you can call a reputable dealer to find a fair market value.

Item 5: Savings Accounts

Provide the banking institution, account number, and the branch where the account is located. Additionally, provide copies of the most recent bank statements.

saving money

Item 6: Checking Accounts

Provide the banking institution, account number, and the branch where the account is located. Additionally, provide copies of the most recent bank statements.

Item 7: Credit Union, Other Deposit Accounts

Provide the banking institution, account number, and the branch where the account is located. Additionally, provide copies of the most recent bank statements.

Item 8: Cash

This is fairly self-explanatory. Did your grandmother teach you to hide ten thousand dollars in your mattress at all times? You have to claim it on this form.

Item 9: Tax Refund

If there is a tax refund outstanding, list it and the amount or the expected amount of the refund here.

Item 10: Life Insurance with Cash Surrender Value

List the company, policy number, and provide the most recent statement. Most clients are unsure what this really means.  I usually recommend that clients list any life insurance policy they have even if it does not have a cash surrender value because often, the parties agree to keep the policy in place for the benefit of the children.

Whole life insurance policies cover you for as long as you live and continue to pay premiums. Term life insurance covers you for a term of your life. Whole life policies usually have a cash value or cash surrender value. This is not a feature of term policies. Whole life policies build cash value, which is a return on a portion of your premiums that the life insurance company invests. Your cash value is tax-deferred until you withdraw it. You can also borrow against it. This is why we need to know about it. If you are unsure about your policy, find the statement or policy and contact your agent.

Item 11: Stocks, Bonds, Etc.

List where the accounts are held and the account numbers. Be sure to provide the most recent statement for each account.

Items 12 & 13: Retirement, Pension Plans, Profit Sharing, Annuities, IRAs, Etc.

List the name of the plans, indicate whose name it is in, indicate the current value unless the plan is a “Defined Benefit Plan,” in which case indicate the same. Provide the latest benefits statement for each plan. List the name of the plans, who owns them, and the last statement.

Item 14: Accounts Receivable/Unsecured Notes

Keep in mind that just because you aren’t familiar with these terms, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t own any. You may know them by different names. When in doubt, consult with your attorney.

Accounts receivable is a legally enforceable claim for payment held by a business against its customer/clients for goods supplied and/or services rendered in execution of the customer’s order.

Unsecured Note is a loan that is not secured by the issuer’s assets.

Provide all details and copies of any account statements or notes.

Item 15: Partnerships and Other Business Interests

If you and/or your spouse have any business interests, provide as much information as you can regarding these entities. Always keep in mind that the divorce process will run more smoothly and efficiently if all the necessary information is provided.

shaking hands

Item 16: Other Assets

If you have any property or assets that are not mentioned in the first 15 items, list them in this section. This can include deferred compensation, stock options, intellectual property rights, etc.

Item 17 & 18: Don’t Worry About These

No matter how good of a job you do on this document, your lawyer will be required to fill the forms out and review them for accuracy. This is part of our job and this is what you pay us for. We will handle this part.

Item 19: Student Loans

If either you or your spouse has outstanding student loans, detail them here. Provide the loan company’s name, when the loan was incurred, how much is owed, etc.

Item 20: Taxes

If you owe taxes, list the year for which you owe and the amount owing.

Item 21: Support Arrearages

If you or your spouse owe any arrearages — money owing — on previous marriage support orders, list it here and provide a copy of the current orders. If you are in these shoes, you probably know how to fill out this form because you’ve been here before.

Item 22: Loans

If there are any outstanding, unsecured loans, give the bank name, the loan number, and the most current statement, if possible.

Item 23: Credit Cards

List each card, its account number, and a copy of the latest statement for each card. Also, provide a statement dated at your date of separation, if possible. If you are aware of other credit cards held by the opposing party, note these here.

Item 24: Other Debts

List any other debts that are not characterized by the previous sections including account numbers, names, balances, and current statements. This can also include personal loans such as money borrowed for a down payment, car, or attorney fees.

Items 25, 26, 27: Let us handle these as well.

Nobody enjoys filling out these forms — unless you’re a family law attorney, of course — but sticking with it, and being as thorough and accurate as possible, will most certainly aid in moving the divorce process along far more smoothly.

As with any form, if you get stuck or just need a bit of guidance, don’t hesitate to contact our office. We’re here to make sure the whole process is as painless for you as possible. Contact the Hills Law Group today.


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