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What are Initial Disclosures Under Rule 194?

by | Jul 16, 2021 | Firm News

By: Abigail Grieve

If you filed a family law case in Texas after January 1, 2021, you are required to disclose certain information to the other party. These disclosures are called Initial Disclosures Under Rule 194 and serve to facilitate effective case understanding and preparation between the parties. Whether it be a divorce, child custody, or child support dispute, it will be necessary for each party to have basic information about the other’s salary, what property they own, and their general financial situation. This allows the parties to understand how much child support should be requested, what an equitable division of the estate might be, and so on.

Once you file a case, the other party has about 20 days to file a written Answer with the court. These Disclosures then become due 30 days after the Answer is filed or the other party makes an appearance in court. As such, as you prepare to file a case, it may be helpful to round up the following documents and information because you or your attorney will need to provide them to the opposing party shortly after beginning your case.

Divorce:

  1. A list of witnesses that have knowledge of your case and that you may wish to call as a witness in hearing or trial. You will need to disclose their names, addresses, and phone numbers.
  2. Any documents related to your real property or lease from the last two years. This includes documents such as deeds, mortgage statements, other liens, and lease agreements.
  3. Any documents related to your retirement accounts. This includes pension plans, profit-sharing plans, employee-benefit plans, or individual retirement plans. You will need to disclose statements from the last two years.
  4. Any documents from the last two years that are related to each life, casualty, liability, and health insurance policies that you have.
  5. Any documents or statements from the last two years from any account at a financial institution. This includes banks, savings and loan institutions, credit unions, and brokerage firms.
  6. A copy of your health insurance card and a breakdown of the coverage available for your spouse and/or children if applicable.
  7. Your income tax returns from the past two years, or your Form W-2, Form 1099, and Schedule K-1 if no tax return was filed.
  8. Your two most recent paystubs.

Suit Affecting Parent-Child Relationship:

  1. A list of witnesses that have knowledge of your case and that you may wish to call as a witness in hearing or trial. You will need to disclose their names, addresses, and phone numbers.
  2. A copy of your health insurance card and a breakdown of the coverage available for your spouse and/or children if applicable.
  3. Your income tax returns from the past two years, or your Form W-2, Form 1099, and Schedule K-1 if no tax return was filed.
  4. Your two most recent paystubs.

You will also receive all of these documents from the other party, and they will assist you in proceeding with your case. However, if you and/or the other party fail to exchange these Disclosures, all other discovery can be put on hold until you provide them. This means that any additional information which would be helpful to your case and that you need to request from the other party, can be held off until the Initial Disclosures are completed. As such, it is a good idea to promptly gather this documentation so that your case may proceed without discovery delay.

Should you have any questions, please reach out to us and we would be welcome the opportunity to assist you in your family matter.