Domestic Relations cases, whether they involve paternity, child custody, dissolution of marriage (or civil union), or legal separation, often revolve around one important issue – the money. Some counties have a local rule covering comprehensive financial statements. Cook County has had its Rule 13.3.3 Disclosure Statement; DuPage has had its 15.01.3 Comprehensive Financial Statement; some counties merely have an affidavit of income and expenses; and of course, some counties have no form at all. So, what is a judge to do?
That story begins about four years ago, when Judge Linda Davenport, an associate judge for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit and a member of the Illinois State Bar Association Family Law Section Council, had an idea. She pushed for a uniform disclosure form that was both comprehensive and practical, that provides a map of disputed issues, and that succinctly covers the income and expenses claimed by a party.
She accepted the challenge from the ISBA Family Law Section Council to form a subcommittee and draft the new uniform form. She teamed up with DuPage County Attorney Brigid Duffield and began working. After revisions and approvals within the ISBA, the form was presented to the Rules Committee of the Illinois Supreme Court, where it passed. It is now pending approval by the Chief Judges of the twenty-three circuit courts in Illinois before it is approved as the official statewide financial disclosure form.
The form itself has already been adopted for use by the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit. The new comprehensive financial statement form requires a few modifications to our local rules, because this disclosure form changes the sections of the prior DuPage form. Along with the new civil union law passing into law, those changes must be incorporated to the local rules. The comprehensive financial statement form is now available on the “online forms” section of the website for the Clerk of the Circuit Court for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit.
The new financial disclosure form is in two sections. The first portion of the new form has some very familiar sections, including the “General Information” section, the “Statement of Health Insurance Coverage”, the assets section, the debts section, the physical and mental status section, and the asset transfer, and non-marital property sections.
And there are some changes. In the debts section, for example, there is a provision to identify the amount of attorneys’ fees paid and the amount still owed. Further, there is now a question on the form that inquires whether the party has had a bankruptcy filing.
There are also two new sections: one for making specific requests for items of personal property and the other for noting possible areas of disagreement or dispute for purposes of case planning. The party filling out this form will sign this first portion to certify compliance with both his/her production of documents and for truthfulness of its contents.
The second portion of the new form is the affidavit of income and expenses. This portion effectively matches what was seen in prior comprehensive financial statements in DuPage County. It is now in its own segment and, where the entire marital estate is not the key issue, it can be detached for use in temporary support hearings. The explanation of the expenses in this second portion is broken down into expenditures but is modernized to account for advances in technology and for business expenses. As with the required signature on the first portion, the party completing this second portion must also sign to certify his/her production of documents and for truthfulness of the contents.
The goal was to ensure that the form is relatively easy to use for the person completing it, and also easy for the court to use when conducting hearings. Upon its final approval, instead of guessing which form goes with which county, uniformity across the state means that attorneys will have a simplified process and form to have their clients complete.
 Financial Disclosure Statement Pursuant to Local (or Supreme) Court Rule, Eighteenth Judicial Circuit of Illinois, Form Number 3417, available at http://www.dupageco.org/CourtClerk/CourtForms.aspx
Sean McCumber is a partner at Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. in Wheaton, Illinois and a long-time resident of DuPage County. He concentrates his practice in family law – divorces, paternity cases, child custody disputes, domestic partnerships, guardianships, adoptions, and juvenile law. He is active in the Family Law, Child Advocacy, and Legal Aid Committees of the DCBA.