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Florida Family Law: Mandatory Disclosure

When you file and serve a petition in a Florida family law case that involves financial issues such as child support, alimony, or the division of property in debts, a clock starts ticking.  Within 45 days of the initial pleadings being served on the respondent, each party is required to provide the other party with a whole host of financial documents and information.

This is what is known as Mandatory Disclosure, and it is governed by Rule 12.285, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure.

The following are a list of documents that are required to be exchanged:

(1) A financial affidavit in substantial conformity with Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.902(b) if the party’s gross annual income is less than $50,000, or Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.902(c) if the party’s gross annual income is equal to or more than $50,000, which requirement cannot be waived by the parties. The financial affidavits must also be filed with the court. A party may request, by using the Standard Family Law Interrogatories, or the court on its own motion may order, a party whose gross annual income is less than $50,000 to complete Florida Family Law Rules of
Procedure Form 12.902(c).

(2) All federal and state income tax returns, gift tax returns, and intangible personal property tax returns filed by the party or on the party’s behalf for the past 3 years.

(3) IRS forms W-2, 1099, and K-1 for the past year, if the income tax return for that year has not been prepared. Read more

Changing Your Tampa Bay Child Support Obligation

It is a new year, and oftentimes that means many changes.  You may have changed jobs or been laid off from work.  You may have been transferred to a different office, or you may have received a promotion.

Any of these occurrences, or other substantial changes in circumstances, may be the basis for a modification of your Florida child support obligation.

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Florida Divorce, Financial Affidavits, and Privacy

In almost any Florida family law matter that involves financial issues, such as child support, alimony, division of property and debt, or attorney’s fees, parties are required to exchange and file Florida Family Law Financial Affidavits.  Financial Affidavits outline each party’s source(s) of income, as well as expenses, assets, and liabilities.

And, when they are filed, they become part of the public record, accessible by anyone.

Most people, for any number reasons, do not want their financial profile to become public.  And yet, when people go through the traditional litigated divorce, that’s exactly what happens.

But it does not need to be that way.

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Text of Florida Senate Bill 748 – Proposed Changes to Alimony Laws in Florida

Yesterday I wrote an update on changes that the Florida Senate is proposing to make to current alimony laws.  Below is the text of the current version of Senate Bill 748 (added text is underlined, while deleted text is stricken):

An act relating to dissolution of marriage; amending s. 61.08, F.S.; revising the factors to be considered for alimony awards, including adultery; requiring a court to make certain written findings concerning alimony; providing that if the court orders a party to provide security to protect an award of alimony, the court may so order only upon a showing of special circumstances; requiring that the court make specific evidentiary findings regarding the availability, cost, and financial impact on the obligated party to support the award of security; revising provisions for an award of durational alimony; redesignating permanent alimony as long-term alimony and revising provisions relating to its award; amending s. 61.14, F.S.; prohibiting a court from reserving jurisdiction to reinstate an alimony award if a supportive relationship ends; providing that a modification or termination of an alimony award is retroactive to the date of filing; requiring the court to consider certain specified factors in determining if the obligor’s retirement is reasonable; amending s. 61.19, F.S.; prohibiting the court from granting a final dissolution of marriage with a reservation of jurisdiction during the first 180 days after the date of service of the original petition for dissolution of marriage to subsequently determine all other substantive issues except in exceptional circumstances; authorizing the court to grant a final dissolution of marriage with a reservation of jurisdiction to subsequently determine all other substantive issues only if the court enters such other temporary orders as are necessary to protect the interests of the parties and their children; providing circumstances in which the court is not required to enter a temporary order; providing an effective date.

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

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Update to Changes Proposed to the Florida Alimony Statute

I previously wrote about a Florida House of Representatives Bill that proposed vast changes to the alimony statute and the “supportive relationship” standard to terminate alimony.

The Florida Senate has a competing bill, SB-748, which makes slightly fewer changes to the alimony standard and is somewhat less controversial than the House Bill.  The Senate summarizes SB-748 as follows:

  • Revises the factors that a court must consider in awarding alimony to include the net income available to each party after the application of the alimony award.
  • Requires the findings that a court must make in determining to award alimony be in writing.
  • Revises the circumstances under which a court may consider adultery by either spouse in its determination of the amount of alimony. Read more

What Is Your Former Spouse Thinking?

Over at the Huffington Post, Allison Pescosolido, M.A., and Andra Bosh, Ph.D., discuss why you may be a mistaken when you attempt to read into your former spouse’s actions.  Here is an example:

Fiction: Your Ex has a new partner already, so he has “moved on” and forgotten about you.

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Family Law News: U.S. Congressman in Court over Back Child Support

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that U.S. Representative Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) will be in a family court because he has failed to pay ordered child support.  His former wife claims that the congressman is in arrears of $117,000.00, including interest, for the parties’ three children.  The Sun-Times also reports that Representative Walsh admits not paying the ordered child support, but did so based on an agreement with his former wife:

Walsh said he had a “verbal agreement” with his ex-wife allowing him to stop paying child support because his income had fallen, hers had gone up, and the children were living with him as much as with her.

[Ms. Laura Walsh’s attorney] Coladarci said [Rep.] Walsh should have gone to court to modify the judge’s order regarding child support if he felt he couldn’t afford the payments because the court order is an obligation to the couple’s children, not to his ex-wife.

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