Mandatory Disclosure Rule

Throughout any divorce or separation, you are bound to hear the words “mandatory disclosure” brought up. In the state of Florida, there is actually a Mandatory Disclosure Rule. This rule requires that both parties in a family law case provide specific and certain documentation to the other party. This is so each are fully informed about the financial situation or circumstances of the opposing party. Mandatory disclosure is very important and extremely common when it comes to dealing with the dissolution of a marriage. There has to be mandatory disclosure whenever a case involves financial issues like child support, alimony, the division of assets, property, etc. The sharing of these certain financial documents helps the parties, or the court come to an agreement over a fair, financial distribution. iI could also help determine a ruling over the equitable distribution of assets, properties, and finances.

Requirements of Mandatory Disclosure Rule

Any family law case in Florida that deals with finances or financial issues has to involve the use of mandatory disclosures. Based off the name, this rule requires or makes the parties involved disclose or share any monetary documents or information to the other party that may or may not have been known previously. Mandatory disclosure must be served within forty-five days of the initial action or pleading for the dissolution of marriage. If this deadline is not met, it may allow the court to end the case or refuse to consider the claims of the party that failed to comply to the disclosure. There are different requirements of mandatory disclosure depending upon whether or not the parties are seeking temporary financial relief or if they wish for initial, supplemental, and permanent financial relief.

When seeking temporary provisions, typically there are three kinds of forms asked for or required in mandatory disclosure. The first being a financial affidavit, which is a written statement pertaining to one’s finances or financial situation confirmed by oath or affirmation that can be used as evidence in court. Forms documenting all personal federal taxes, gift tax, and intangible personal property tax returns from the year is one of the other kinds. The IRS W-2 forms or tax return transcripts can be given as well. Another form of documentation that may be required is pay stubs or some type of evidence of earned income from the three months prior of the financial affidavit. All of these forms are required under initial, supplemental, and permanent financial relief as well.

Difference in Provisions Determine Required Documents

Required documents can slightly vary depending upon whether a party is seeking temporary provisions or initial, supplemental and permanent financial relief. There are differences between temporary financial relief and initial, supplemental, and permanent financial relief. One difference is that there are many other requirements needed in addition to the three also required for temporary provisions. There are numerous additional statements and documents required on top of the financial affidavit, tax information, and earned income documentations.

Some other various kinds of documentation that could or should be provided range from information about loans, deeds, retirement plans, insurance material, credit card and checking account statements, to any and/or all written agreements between the parties for modification, claims of unequal distribution, and any court order involving a spouse paying or receiving any kind of child support or spousal support. These are only some of the documents and information that may be required. In the Waiver of Mandatory Disclosure, there can be up to seventeen additional documents exchanged between both parties. There are still many other documents that should be exchanged all pertaining to liabilities and assets. Once these documents are provided to the involved parties, a certificate of compliance is filed with the court. A certificate of compliance is an affirmed or sworn pleading that proves the mandatory discovery documents were provided to the opposing party.

How Does a Judge Determine Which Documents are Shared

Depending on what information is disclosed between parties, a judge may order the sharing of even more documents. Not all the forms listed in the Waiver of Mandatory Disclosure are required to be provided to the opposing party. However, signing and filling out the waiver does not mean that additional documents may be ordered or needed by the court. If a judge feels as if the information provided is not adequate enough to determine equitable distribution, they can order additional documents and information. Although, parties may not know whether or not they need to provide further information until their hearing.

If the information provided is satisfactory and there is a content level of understanding, then it may be beneficial to the parties involved and the court. It could help to prevent or avoid any unnecessary delays throughout the case. With mandatory disclosure there is the responsibility to keep the other party updated with any changes to one’s financial status. Whenever there is a material change in financial status or a financial situation, the party is responsible to continue supplementing those documents and information in a prompt manner. This is stated in the Waiver of Mandatory Disclosure. It is very important to ensure that all information pertaining to one’s financial situation are kept up to date and accurate.

Benefits of Mandatory Disclosure Rule

Mandatory disclosures help provide financial information to both parties in order to come to a ruling over the distribution of liabilities and assets during a divorce. This procedure is mainly used to help resolve and determine equitable distribution. It is also very important in cases that deal with children and the child support that may be needed. Mandatory disclosures aid in the arrangement of alimony or a spouse’s court-ordered provisions for child support or spousal support. Mandatory is in the name of this order. It is necessary that the parties involved take the required actions and disclose their financial information and documents to the other party. The Mandatory Disclosure Rule is an important factor in order to determine the financial situation of the relationship. It determines what must be ordered, awarded, or distributed to each party.

 

References:

Fla. Fam. L. R. P. Rule 12.285

https://www.flcourts.org/core/fileparse.php/293/urlt/932.pdf

http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/clerk/comments/2005/05-117_FullPageRules.pdf

http://www.fljud13.org/portals/0/forms/pdfs/family/13judcir-waiverofmandatorydisclosure.pdf