Mandatory disclosure is the exchange of certain financial information between the parties to an initial or supplemental divorce proceeding involving financial relief. Mandatory Disclosure is governed by Florida Family Law Rule 12.285, which contains a list of the required documents. This list includes, for example, tax returns, account statements, and deeds to real property.
Mandatory disclosure is required but can be waived by written agreement of both parties. Waiver of mandatory disclosure typically only occurs in an uncontested divorce. However, you cannot waive the requirement that you complete and file a Financial Affidavit.
The financial documents are produced to the other party but do not get filed with the Court. Instead, you file with the Court what is known as a Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Disclosure, which essentially identifies the type of documents you are producing to the other party.
Mandatory disclosure is due to the other party within 45 days from the date of service of the petition for dissolution of marriage (i.e., the date you or the opposing party received the divorce paperwork).
As part of your mandatory disclosure, you must also complete a Financial Affidavit. The Financial Affidavit must be completed in a format like the form approved by the Florida Supreme Court. Your divorce attorney should provide you with a form affidavit at the onset of your divorce. If you do not have a divorce attorney, you can find the approved Form with instructions on the Florida Supreme Court website.
The Financial Affidavit contains different sections where you list your income, living expenses, assets, and debts. The Financial Affidavit gets filed with the Court and served on the other party to the divorce. The Financial Affidavit must be signed before a notary, which means you swear under oath to the accuracy of its contents.
You have an obligation to update your financial affidavit in the event your financial circumstances change. This means you must notify your divorce attorney in the event you get a raise or change jobs, for example, so your financial affidavit can be updated.
The Financial Affidavit is important for your divorce case. It serves as the guidepost from which the Judge will make financial decision regarding the division of property, alimony, and child support. In other words, the Judge will use the Financial Affidavit to identify marital and non-marital assets, debts, and gain a picture of the parties’ relative financial situations.
You must be truthful on your Financial Affidavit and in your mandatory disclosure. The failure to disclose documents or information to the other side could subject you to sanctions. The Judge could also set aside your final divorce decree if it is later determined that you lied on your Financial Affidavit.
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