What Family Law Cases Require Disclosure of Financial Information?
Certain Family law cases in Florida require that both parties exchange their financial information with each other in the interest of fairness and transparency. Matters involving divorce, paternity, child support, parenting plans, and child custody agreements all require each party to make certain financial disclosures to the other party. This means that in a divorce case, both the husband and wife will have to provide each other many different documents that reveal their financial status. In a case involving a child, both parents to the child will have to reveal to one another these same financial documents. Some of these documents are personal and might be uncomfortable to share with former spouses or significant others. However, it is important to remember that under Florida law it is required for everyone to share these private financial documents, not just you, and your case will not be able to move along without them.
The purpose of turning these financial documents over to the other party is so that both the court and the parties can see both the assets and the debts on either side. In a divorce case, this will ensure that the assets and debts are distributed equitably, and alimony will be awarded if appropriate. In matters involving a child, financial disclosures will ensure that a child is financially taken care of and that both parents are contributing to the child’s needs in a fair manner.
What All is Included in the Financial Disclosures?
The financial affidavit is the one document that in most cases cannot be avoided. Florida Family Rules of Procedure, 12.285 lays out which documents must be turned over to the other side.
These documents include:
- A financial affidavit including:
– any streams of income
– deductions and living expenses
– assets such as houses, stocks, and bonds
– liabilities or debts
- Federal & state tax returns from the last 3 years, including any corporate and partnership tax returns if a party has an interest in the company greater than 30%.
(W2’s, 1099’s and K-1’s for any year which an income tax return hasn’t been prepared)
- Pay stubs for 3 months leading up to the financial affidavit
- All loan applications prepared within 24 months before the financial affidavit
- All deeds to real estate presently owned, or owned within the last 3 years
- Bank statements from checking accounts for the last 3 months, and bank statements from savings accounts from the last year
- Brokerage account statements for the last year
- The most recent statements from the last year for any retirement account
- The most recent statements from the last 12 months of any virtual currency transactions (cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin or Ethereum)
- The declaration page, the last statement, and statements from the past year of any life insurance policy
- All promissory notes for the last year (credit cards, car notes)
- All written premarital and marital agreements between the parties
Can I hide Assets?
In many cases, parties do not want to disclose any financial information or all of their financial information. This is most common in a divorce where one or both spouses will attempt to hide assets out of spite or just out of a desire to keep more than their fair share of assets. Regardless of which kind of matter you are involved in, there can be harsh penalties, fines, or jail time imposed for fraud or lying under oath. The financial affidavit must be signed by you under oath, indicating that it is the honest truth. It is in your best interest that the form is filled out to the best of your knowledge to avoid a future claim against you for fraud or concealment.
However, you may be in luck if your spouse or child’s co-parent agrees to waive all or some financial disclosures. Under Florida law parties can waive, or in other words agree to not disclose to one another, any of the financial disclosures listed above, EXEPT the financial affidavit. This financial affidavit however can also be waived in a simplified divorce when no minor children are involved or where the court has no jurisdiction concerning the financial-related issues in the divorce. Contact Pinellas Family Lawyer for more information about how to waive financial disclosures.
When to file the Financial Affidavit?
Financial disclosures including the financial affidavit must be made to the other party within 45 days of the initial pleading. If these disclosures are not made within this time frame the court could proceed without considering the arguments of the non-disclosing party. This could mean that the case could be dismissed or the party who fails to submit their financial disclosures could hinder their ability to receive alimony, child support, or any distribution of assets in a divorce. In order to avoid this, it is recommended that you work diligently with your family law attorney to turn over all of your financials in a timely manner.
Contact our Firm for Help
Whether you are looking for a divorce lawyer or a child custody attorney in Florida, you don’t have to handle your divorce, paternity, or child custody case alone. Pinellas Family Lawyer helps mothers, fathers, husbands and wives resolve disputes and navigate the court system throughout the divorce or paternity process. To schedule a free consultation, you can contact Pinellas Family Lawyer at (727) 538-7741 or schedule a free confidential consultation online.