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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

Keep Your Contact Information Current with the Clerk of the Court, Even After Your Family Law Case is Closed

Let’s start with a simple proposition:  Each party involved in a family law case should make sure that the clerk of the court has updated contact information for that party.  It seems easy, but taking this small step could prevent big headaches in the future.

I have heard of cases where a party has moved in the middle of the case, did not inform anyone, then complained afterwards that he had not received notice of an important hearing.  I also have seen cases where a petitioner (the party initiating the case) provides the clerk with the wrong address for the respondent (the party responding to the petition), and the clerk sends information to the incorrect address for the entire duration of the case.

I have even encountered this scenario:  Parties get divorced.  In the final judgment, Husband is required to pay Wife alimony.  After the divorce, Wife moves to a different apartment in the same apartment complex.  Husband sends alimony payments to Wife’s old address, but they get delivered to the new addressed because Postal Worker knows and likes Wife (and especially the gift certificates to Best Buy that Wife gives to Postal Worker each Christmas).

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Filing Fees in Pasco County

I previous wrote about filing fees in Hillsborough County and Pinellas County.  In this post I review current filing fees in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pasco County, for common family law matters.  A person who initiates a family law case (the “Petitioner”) will pay the following:

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Filing Fees in Pinellas County

I previous wrote about filing fees in Hillsborough County.  In this post I review current filing fees in the Sixth Judicial Circuit, Pinellas County, for common family law matters.  A person who initiates a family law case (the “Petitioner”) will pay the following:

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Special Issues in Military Divorce

If you are in a family law matter involving a servicemember, you will encounter some unique issues to which you must pay special attention.

Residency Requirement

Generally, one party to a divorce must have been a resident of Florida for at least six months prior to filing.  However, there is an exception for servicemembers.  A servicemember (or his or her spouse) who is not currently in Florida may petition for divorce in Florida if he or she (i) was a Florida resident prior to entering the military and (ii) never established a permanent residence elsewhere.  Even if the military member had not lived in Florida prior to entering the service, he or she may still be able to file for divorce in Florida if he or she is deployed but has an intent to remain a permanent Florida resident.  Such intent may be evidenced by the following: (i) Florida voter registration; (ii) ownership of a Florida home; or (iii) registration of a vehicle in Florida.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

Many of the military issues in a divorce stem from the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (the “SCRA”).  The SCRA was signed into law in 2003 and updated and replaced the Soldiers and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1940.  Most provisions of the SCRA apply to the following people on active duty:  (i) members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guards; (ii) members of the National Guard; and (iii) commissioned officers of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Can’t Find Your Spouse? Check For Mug Shots.

One of the first steps in initiating a divorce or other proceeding is to have a petition and other papers served on the other party (the “Respondent”).  Sometimes the Respondent does not want to be found.  Other times, the Respondent is, well, in the slammer.  So how do you find out whether he or she is behind bars?

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Section 61.510, Florida Statutes

Appearance and limited immunity.—

(1)A party to a child custody proceeding, including a modification proceeding, or a petitioner or respondent in a proceeding to enforce or register a child custody determination, is not subject to personal jurisdiction in this state for another proceeding or purpose solely by reason of having participated, or of having been physically present for the purpose of participating, in the proceeding.

(2)A person who is subject to personal jurisdiction in this state on a basis other than physical presence is not immune from service of process in this state. A party present in this state who is subject to the jurisdiction of another state is not immune from service of process allowable under the laws of that state.

(3)The immunity granted by subsection (1) does not extend to civil litigation based on an act unrelated to the participation in a proceeding under this part which was committed by an individual while present in this state.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.

 

 

 

Section 61.509, Florida Statutes

Notice to persons outside the state.—

(1)Notice required for the exercise of jurisdiction when a person is outside this state may be given in a manner prescribed by the laws of the state in which the service is made. Notice must be given in a manner reasonably calculated to give actual notice, but may be made by publication if other means are not effective.

(2)Proof of service may be made in the manner prescribed by the laws of the state in which the service is made.

(3)Notice is not required for the exercise of jurisdiction with respect to a person who submits to the jurisdiction of the court.

History.—s. 5, ch. 2002-65.