Exploring the Florida requirements to produce and supplement mandatory disclosure in divorce proceedings
Now that we have given the gifts we purchased for family and friends in celebration of the holidays, we have a whole year before holiday gift planning begins again. But when it comes to sharing your personal financial information in a Florida divorce, you cannot take a break.
In divorce and some other family law proceedings in Florida state courts, a court rule directs the parties to disclose specific financial information in compliance with detailed content and procedural requirements.
For example, a party might ask the court for temporary financial relief in the form of temporary alimony or child support during the pendency of divorce proceedings. The rule requires in proceedings for temporary relief that each party complete a financial affidavit to serve on the other party and file in court, as well as provide tax returns and evidence of income for the past three months. If child support is involved, the parties must also file official Child Support Guidelines Worksheets with the court.
Or, a party may initiate initial or supplemental proceedings for permanent financial relief, “including, but not limited to, a request for child support, alimony, equitable distribution of assets or debts, or attorneys’ fees, suit money, or costs.” For these proceedings, the rule still requires financial affidavits and child support guidelines worksheets, but the rule requires a significant amount of additional information than for a temporary relief proceeding.
(We note that the court by order or parties by agreement may modify the rule’s requirements, except for those related to financial affidavits or child support guidelines worksheets.)
Mandatory supplemental information
Once a party has shared information under Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.285, continuing legal responsibility remains to update and supplement the financial information “whenever a material change in their financial status occurs.”
Examples of what might be a material change include:
- A change in salary in either direction
- A large bonus
- Sale of a major asset
- Payoff of a significant debt
In addition, another more general court rule instructs that a party must amend disclosed information if a party later discovers that the original information provided was incorrect or is “no longer materially true or complete.”
These rules refer to “material” changes or “material” truth, so anyone involved in divorce proceedings in Florida must maintain continued awareness of material – significant, major or consequential – changes in their financial or economic situation and update their required disclosures accordingly. Failure to do so can subject the party to a variety of court sanctions.
An experienced Florida family lawyer can assist a divorce client to determine when material financial changes occur that require supplementing required financial disclosures.