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Required Initial Disclosures

Divorce

Parties to new lawsuits in Texas usually must exchange information within 30 days of the filing of an answer, waiver of service, or counterpetition. This is part of the discovery process: how you investigate facts in a lawsuit. 
Overview

Guide Overview

Parties to new lawsuits in Texas usually must exchange information within 30 days of the filing of an answer, waiver of service, or counterpetition. This is part of the discovery process: how you investigate facts in a lawsuit. 

Research Tips

See Rules & Forms at the web site of the Texas judicial branch, and read the following articles:

If you need to do more legal research, learn how at Legal Research: Steps to Follow

Instructions & Forms

Parties to new civil lawsuits in Texas usually must exchange information within 30 days of the filing of an answer, waiver of service, or counterpetition.

Family law cases, such as divorces and custody suits, require you to share additional information even beyond what a typical civil lawsuit requires. You may be able to agree that you do not have to exchange the information (using a Rule 11 agreement).

Checklist Steps

Read Required Initial Disclosures in Texas Civil Cases, which explains what is a required initial disclosure is; what you have to give the other side; what to do with your material; exceptions; and consequences for not exchanging the required information. Also see the following articles:

As part of the required disclosures under Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 194.2, you need to give the other party or parties the correct names and addresses of parties to the lawsuit—your name and contact information, including your mailing address and phone number, and contact information for anyone else involved.

You also need to give the other side the names, phone numbers, and addresses of potential witnesses—that is, people with knowledge of relevant facts. If this case is contested, this list could include: family members, neighbors, teachers, doctors, counselors, employers, and financial advisors, among others.

Gather up documents related to insurance. This includes all statements or policies for each current life, casualty, liability, and health insurance policy.

 

 

In a suit in which child support is at issue, you must, without being asked, give the other party:

  • your income tax returns for the previous two years or, if no return has been filed, your Form W-2, Form 1099, and Schedule K-1 for the past two years; and
  • your two most recent payroll check stubs. 

(Note that this doesn't apply in child support cases filed by or against the Texas Office of the Attorney General.)

Unless you and the other parties to the lawsuit have agreed otherwise, you need to prepare your forms. 

Forms Required

If you are filing a new divorce, annulment, or suit to declare marriage void, you must give your spouse certain information. This is part of the discovery process.

The checklist below is a general guide. Complete and give this form to your spouse. You can also use this tool from Lone Star Legal Aid to help you fill out the initial disclosure forms.

Checklist Steps

In a required initial disclosure, certain information and documents must be exchanged no later than 30 days after an appearance—for example, an answer, counterpetition, or waiver of service—is filed. 

To calculate the deadline:

(1) find the day the answer was filed with the clerk,

(2) look at it on a calendar,

(3) count out 30 more days (including weekends and holidays).

You must give your materials to that party on or before this date.

The rules about how lawsuits work in Texas require you to exchange information and documents in a divorce, but there are exceptions:

Also, parties can agree that they do not have to exchange the information, or they can ask the court to waive the requirement. Read Rule 11 Agreements to learn more about one way to waive the initial disclosures.

As part of the required disclosures under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 194.2, you need to give your spouse the correct names and addresses of parties to the lawsuit—that is, your name and contact information, including your mailing address and phone number. And, list the full names and dates of birth of the children.

You also need to give the other side the names, phone numbers, and addresses of potential witnesses—that is, people with knowledge of relevant facts. If this case is contested, this list could include: family members, neighbors, teachers, doctors, counselors, employers, and financial advisors, among others.

This may not be required in a family violence situation. See Domestic Violence: Free Legal Help for Victims and Survivors for help finding a lawyer, because you should talk to a lawyer familiar with family violence law to determine whether or not you need to disclose this information.

Gather up documents related to real property to give your spouse:

  • All deed and lien information on any real property owned, and
  • All lease information on any real property leased.

You will need information that goes back for the past two years, unless you have been married less than two years. If you have been married less than two years, you give your spouse documents going back to the date you got married.

This includes deeds, closing documents, and mortgage statements. And, you need to include documents related to property you owned before the marriage or inherited.

If you do not have access to the accounts, and your name is on the account, you need to make a good faith effort to get the documents. For example, you can reach out to the title company, landlord, or lender.

Gather up documents related to money and retirement. This includes:

  • the past two year of statements for any pension plan, retirement plan, profit-sharing plan, employee benefit plan, and individual retirement plan;
  • the past two years of statements pertaining to any account at a financial institution, including banks, savings and loans institutions, credit unions, and brokerage firms.

You will need information that goes back for the past two years, unless you have been married less than two years. If you have been married less than two years, you give your spouse documents going back to the date you got married. 

For all of these accounts, you need to be ready to provide:

  • Company name or financial institution name
  • Last four digits of account number
  • Description of documents you are providing to the other side.
  • ​Current balance

See Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 194.2(c)(1)(B).

Gather up documents related to insurance. This includes all statements or policies for each current life, casualty, liability, and health insurance policy.

If the divorce involves concerns child support, spousal support, or both, you will also need information about all policies, statements, and the summary description of benefits for any medical and health insurance coverage that is or would be available for the child or the spouse.

Gather tax information (if child or spousal support is at issue)

In a suit in which child or spousal support is at issue, you must, without being asked, give the other party:

  • your income tax returns for the previous two years or, if no return has been filed, your Form W-2, Form 1099, and Schedule K-1 for those years; and
  • your two most recent payroll check stubs. 

(Note that this doesn't apply in child support cases filed by or against the Texas Office of the Attorney General.)

Read Child Support, Medical Support, and Dental Support to learn more about child support in Texas, including what counts as income for the purposes of calculating child support.

Complete the Required Initial Disclosure in Divorce form. Read it first. Print it out and fill out one for practice, if you need to.

You will need to fill it out completely, referring to the information that is outlined in this checklist. If you need help, use TexasLawHelp's Legal Help Directory to find a lawyer.

Finally, give your spouse:

(1) The completed Required Initial Disclosures in Dissolution of Marriage form, and

(2) The documents you have gathered. 

This must be done no later than 30 days after an answer, counterpetition, or waiver of service is filed, unless you have agreed otherwise.

Do not file the form and documents with the court.

Read Sending Initial Disclosures

In new Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, or Suits to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship, you must give the other party or parties certain information—whether they ask for it or not. This is part of the discovery process. This is required unless the parties agree otherwise, or the court lets you waive it. 

You can give them a hard copy of the information or electronic copies. Complete this form to give to the other party. Or, use this tool from Lone Star Legal Aid to help you fill out the initial disclosure forms.

Checklist Steps

In a required initial disclosure, certain information and documents must be exchanged no later than 30 days after an appearance—for example, an answer, counterpetition, or waiver of service—is filed. 

To calculate the deadline:

(1) find the day the answer was filed with the clerk,

(2) look at it on a calendar,

(3) count out 30 more days (including weekends and holidays).

You must give your materials to that party on or before this date.

The rules about how lawsuits work in Texas require you to exchange information and documents in a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship, but there are exceptions:

Also, parties can agree that they do not have to exchange the information, or they can ask the court to waive the requirement. Read Rule 11 Agreements to learn more about one way to waive the initial disclosures.

As part of the required disclosures under Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 194.2, you need to give the other party or parties the correct names and addresses of parties to the lawsuit—your name and contact information, including your mailing address and phone number, and contact information for anyone else involved.

List the full names and dates of birth of the children.

You also need to give the other side the names, phone numbers, and addresses of potential witnesses—that is, people with knowledge of relevant facts. If this case is contested, this list could include: family members, neighbors, teachers, doctors, counselors, employers, and financial advisors, among others.

Gather up documents related to insurance. This includes all statements or policies for each current life, casualty, liability, and health insurance policy.

If the case involves child support, you will also need information about all policies, statements, and the summary description of benefits for any medical and health insurance coverage that is or would be available for the child.

 

In a suit in which child support is at issue, you must, without being asked, give the other party:

  • your income tax returns for the previous two years or, if no return has been filed, your Form W-2, Form 1099, and Schedule K-1 for the past two years; and
  • your two most recent payroll check stubs. 

(Note that this doesn't apply in child support cases filed by or against the Texas Office of the Attorney General.)

 

Complete the Required Initial Disclosures - SAPCR or Modification form. Read it first. Print it out and fill out one for practice, if you need to.

You will need to fill it out completely, referring to the information that is outlined in this checklist. If you need help, use TexasLawHelp's Legal Help Directory to find a lawyer.

Finally, give the other parent or conservator:

(1) The completed Required Initial Disclosures in Dissolution of Marriage form, and

(2) The documents you have gathered. 

This must be done no later than 30 days after an answer, counterpetition, or waiver of service is filed, unless you have agreed otherwise.

Do not file the form and documents with the court.

Read Sending Initial Disclosures

Forms Required

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