What is Mandatory Disclosure in Florida Divorce?
Mandatory Disclosure is the process whereby financial information is supposed to be automatically disclosed by the parties when filing a divorce or other family law case. The procedure is mandated by Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.285. The purpose of Rule 12.285 is to ensure that each party will be fully informed about the financial circumstances of the other party prior to settlement of the case through mediation, negotiation or trial.
Rule 12.285 specifically requires the exchange of financial affidavits, and this exchange cannot be waived. There are two types of financial affidavits: a short form for those who have an annual gross income of under $50,000 (see Family Law Financial Affidavit 12.902 b) and a long form (see Family Law Financial Affidavit 12.902c) for those who have an annual gross income of $50,000 or greater. Rule 12.285 also requires exchange of additional documents, including tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage statement, deeds, business information, vehicle titles, insurance policies, etc. The parties can agree to waive the exchange of all of these additional documents. If the parties agree to waive the exchange of mandatory disclosure documents (except the financial affidavit), a waiver of mandatory disclosure must be executed by the parties and filed with the Court.
Under the rule, Mandatory disclosure must be exchanged by the parties within 45 days after the initial case is served on the respondent. There is a continuing duty to update mandatory disclosure (including the financial affidavit) whenever there is a material change in a party’s financial circumstances, and a party may object to mandatory disclosure anytime up to 5 days before disclosure is due. You cannot complete the form and be done. If there are financial changes an amended financial affidavit must be filed. To comply with mandatory disclosure, a party must certify by notarized signature that all of the required records are being disclosed to the other party.
If a party does not comply with Mandatory Disclosure the remedy is to file Motion to Compel the Disclosure and/ or a Motion for Contempt for failure to disclose the required information. A party can be held liable by the court for the other party’s attorney fees incurred to bring these Motions, if the violating party failed to provide disclosure that is within their power and control to provide. The court also has authority to order sanctions against the party in non-compliance.
Divorce and Family law can be a complex process, with many factors and aspects to consider. I can help you navigate through this process. With over 24 years of experience, I have the knowledge and skills to assist with even the most contentious of cases. Schedule your reduced fee consultation with Debora A. Diaz, Esq.
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Written by Debora A. Diaz, Esq.
Practicing Divorce and Marital Law since 1995. Serving New Port Richey, Trinity, Wesley Chapel in Pasco, Pinellas, Hernando and surrounding counties.