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What if I do not want to disclose my financial records to my ex-spouse?

You are certainly free to arrange your own agreement; courts in fact are quite in favor of out-of-court settlements. Do not expect, however, to be able to prevent the disclosure of your financial records, if they pertain to jointly held properties and assets. You must have full and complete disclosure of your finances, so that your agreement can be judged fair and equitable. As you can see from our sample statutes, any "destruction, concealment, fraudulent disposition, or excessive expenditures of jointly-held property" is a limiting factor in a spousal support award.

If you and your spouse do come to an agreement that is not fair, you should be ready for the judge to question the agreement and potentially order an entirely separate support award. It is recommended not to put yourself in this situation, because when the court makes a decision, you are including the element of surprise.