Am I Required to Disclose My Finances in My Family Law Case?

Rule 12.285, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, requires each party to a family law matter to disclose certain financial information to the other party.  Disclosure is strictly enforced in cases with money at issue, including child support, alimony, and equitable distribution or property division. Parties are required to follow Rule 12.285’s disclosure requirements in two ways: (i) providing a financial affidavit; and (ii) exchanging certain documents (also known as mandatory disclosure).

Financial Affidavit

The financial affidavit is a document on which a party identifies, among other information, his or her monthly income, monthly expenses, assets, and liabilities/debts.  The Florida Supreme Court has provided two forms for the financial affidavit: (i) Form 12.902(b) (also known as the “Short Form”) for those parties with an annual gross income of less than $50,000.00; and (ii) Form 12.902(c) (also known as the “Long Form”) for those parties with an annual gross income of $50,000.00 or more.  You may find both forms here.  Financial affidavits must be provided to the other party and filed with the clerk of the court.

Mandatory Disclosure

In addition to the financial affidavit, parties are required to exchange financial documents, including tax returns, checking and savings account statements, loan applications, and mortgage statements.  A list of the documents may be found both in Rule 12.285 and in Florida Supreme Court Approved Form 12.932, the certificate of compliance with mandatory disclosure.  Parties should note that a certificate of compliance must be filed with the clerk of the court.  You may find Form 12.932 here.

Exceptions to Financial Disclosure

Rule 12.285 lists certain exceptions where financial disclosure is not required, including in the following actions:  (i) adoption; (ii) simplified dissolution of marriage; (iii) enforcement; (iv) contempt; (v) injunctions for domestic, repeat, dating, or sexual violence; (vi) uncontested divorces when the respondent is served by publication and does not file an answer; and (vii) actions for attorneys’ fees, suit money, or costs, if the basis for the request is solely under section 57.105, Florida Statutes.

As understanding Rule 12.285 can be complicated, and issues related to disclosed financial documents and information are often crucial to the success or failure of a party’s case, it is highly recommended that you retain a Florida family law attorney to help you with disclosure.

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