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What financial info do parties have to disclose in a divorce?

Florida spouses typically know more about one another than any other person does. And yet, when the couple files for divorce and disputes develop, it can often seem as though the individual does not know the person on the other side.

While this unfamiliarity with the other person can take an emotional toll, it also has a very practical application to the divorce process itself. As discussed previously in this blog, one of the key issues in the divorce will be the dividing of the couple's marital property. However, before the marital property can be divided, the first step is knowing what assets are owned by both sides. While an individual might think the person knows about all the property owned by the couple when the divorce starts, this is often not the case.

For example, an individual might own property that is not known by the other side, such as an offshore account. In other cases where an individual runs a business, the other spouse might not know what the business is valued at or what assets are truly owned by the business owner.

Fortunately, there are rules under Florida law that mandate disclosure of this information. Within 45 days after a divorce petition is served, both parties must typically provide certain financial documents and sign a financial affidavit. These automatic financial disclosures are designed to inform both sides of the financial issues at stake in the divorce. If a party fails to provide this required information, it can result in the court dismissing the case, or at least not considering that side's requests.

Other discovery requirements also apply, such as completing a child-support worksheet before a child support hearing. While certain of these requirements can be modified by the parties, others cannot be waived and must be disclosed to the other side and the court. By doing so, the court will have the information it needs to make decisions on these financial issues.

Source: The Florida Bar, "Divorce in Florida pamphlet," accessed on Dec. 12, 2015

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