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Can I Waive Financial Affidavits and Financial Disclosure in a Florida Divorce?

By: Jarbath Pena Law Group

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Divorce proceedings are often complex, involving various legal requirements and documentation. In Florida, one crucial aspect of divorce is financial disclosure. Financial disclosure ensures transparency and fairness in the distribution of assets and liabilities between spouses. 

However, many individuals wonder if they can waive financial affidavits and disclosure requirements in divorce proceedings. In this blog, the lawyers of The Jarbath Peña Law Group delve into the intricacies of financial disclosure in Florida divorces, including requirements, exceptions, and what to do if your spouse refuses to disclose pertinent financial information. 

What Is Financial Disclosure in Florida Divorces?

When you seek a divorce in Florida, the law requires that you and your spouse provide the court with detailed information about your financial status. This is called financial disclosure. The purpose is to ensure that all assets, liabilities, income, and expenses are fully revealed—thereby enabling the court to make equitable decisions regarding property division, alimony, and child support.

When you seek a divorce in Florida, the law requires that you and your spouse provide the court with detailed information about your financial status. This is called financial disclosure. The purpose is to ensure that all assets, liabilities, income, and expenses are fully revealed—thereby enabling the court to make equitable decisions regarding property division, alimony, and child support.

Florida law mandates full financial disclosure so the court can equitably divide the marital property and debts. The mandate is in place to prevent one spouse from concealing assets or misrepresenting their financial status—impacting the division of assets unfairly in their favor—during divorce proceedings. By providing accurate and complete financial information, both parties ensure a fair resolution to their divorce-related financial matters.

What Are the Florida Financial Disclosure Requirements?

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The Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure § 12.285 governs financial disclosure requirements. The mandatory disclosure requirements include:

  • Income: Both parties must disclose all sources of income, including wages, bonuses, dividends, rental income, and any other form of monetary compensation.

  • Assets: This encompasses all assets owned individually or jointly, such as real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, and valuable personal property.

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  • Liabilities: Both spouses must disclose all debts and liabilities, including mortgages, loans, credit card debt, and any other financial obligations.

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  • Financial Affidavits: Each spouse must submit a financial affidavit detailing their income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. The financial affidavit provides a comprehensive overview of the individual’s financial situation.

The court uses this information to determine asset distribution, alimony, and child support payments. Therefore, this disclosure is nearly always mandatory—but there are some exceptions. 

Mandatory Disclosure Exceptions

When you file your financial affidavits with the court, this information becomes part of the public record. Some people do not wish their financial situation to be publicly available. Therefore, full financial disclosure is required in most Florida divorces, but there are exceptions. 

If you are filing a simplified divorce (even more streamlined than an uncontested divorce), you can waive the filing requirements. Such a waiver is applicable when you don’t have children and agree that you have resolved all financial issues. Therefore, the court has nothing to determine and has no need to see financial affidavits.

In other cases, the disclosure rule also allows the spouses to file a joint waiver indicating that they agree to waive financial disclosure. In the notice of the joint verified waiver, the parties must each acknowledge that they have shared accurate information privately with one another and that disclosing this information with the court might be needed in future proceedings. The parties must keep copies of the affidavits they privately share, and either party can revoke the waiver if they feel that disclosure has become necessary at any point in the process.

What Is the Difference Between Long or Short Form Financial Affidavits?

In Florida divorces, financial affidavits are used to disclose financial information to the court and the opposing party. There are two types of financial affidavits: long form and short form.

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  • Long-Form Financial Affidavit: The long-form financial affidavit provides detailed information about the individual’s income, expenses, assets, and liabilities for parties whose gross individual income is $50,000 or more per year. It requires comprehensive documentation and is typically used in contested divorces or cases involving significant assets.

  • Short-Form Financial Affidavit: The short-form financial affidavit is a condensed version of the long form, requiring less detailed information for those who gross less than $50,000 per year. It is often used in uncontested divorces or cases with minimal assets and liabilities.

Your attorney can help you fill out and file your affidavit if a waiver is not applicable.

What If Your Spouse Refuses to Disclose Their Financial Information?

If your spouse refuses to disclose their financial information, it can complicate the divorce process and hinder a fair resolution. It may indicate that they are reluctant to expose their financial situation for a variety of reasons, including their wish to hide assets and pay less in child or spousal support. Regardless of the reason, if your spouse attempts to hide assets or avoid disclosure without a valid exception, you may take legal action to compel disclosure, including:

  • Motion to Compel: You can file a motion with the court requesting an order compelling your spouse to provide the required financial information.

  • Discovery: Utilize legal discovery tools such as interrogatories, requests for the production of documents, and depositions to obtain relevant financial information from your spouse.

  • Sanctions: The court could consider a party’s failure to disclose or attempt to conceal assets as fraud—which is punishable by law. If your spouse continues to refuse disclosure despite court orders, they may face sanctions such as fines or other adverse legal consequences.

If the court grants a motion to compel and your spouse fails to comply honestly, they may face contempt of court, financial sanctions, or even jail—although jail is relatively rare.

What to Do If You Suspect Your Spouse Is Not Truthful on their Financial Affidavit

financial disclosure, two people in front of laptops going over financial disclosures

If you suspect that your spouse is not truthful in their financial affidavit, it’s essential to address the issue promptly to safeguard your interests. Steps you can take include:

  1. Gather Evidence: Collect any evidence or documentation that contradicts your spouse’s financial disclosure, such as bank statements, tax returns, or property records.

  2. Consult an Attorney: Seek guidance from a qualified family law attorney who can assess your situation, advise you on your rights, and represent your interests in court if necessary.

  3. Challenge the Affidavit: File a motion with the court to challenge the accuracy of your spouse’s financial affidavit and request further investigation or discovery to uncover the truth.

Such misconduct is sanctionable by direct consequences, as discussed above. However, it might also impact the final resolution of your divorce issues. In other words, dishonesty does not sit right with most judges. If the judge sees that your spouse has tried to hide assets, it could impact other decisions like child support, custody, the division of assets, etc. In the end, it is not worth trying to get away with such dishonesty. 

We Are Your Family Law Advocates

Fritznie Jarbath and Melisa Pena, attorneys at Jarbath Pena Law Group, JP Law group, Familly lawyer, immigration lawyer

Navigating the complexities of financial disclosure in a Florida divorce requires careful attention to detail and legal expertise. If you’re facing challenges with financial disclosure or require assistance with your divorce proceedings, the experienced attorneys at Jarbath Peña Law Group are here to help. Contact us today for personalized guidance. We provide compassionate and effective representation tailored specifically to your needs. Let us advocate for your rights and help put you on the right track for your future.

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