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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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A Peaceful Divorce in Tampa Bay?

I recently returned from a conference of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, where approximately 400 attorneys, psychologists, therapists, accountants, and financial planners from all around the world gathered to learn how to help families through collaborative divorce (a process where clients agree to settle their disputes privately and attorneys are contractually barred from bringing contested issues in front of a judge to decide).

During the conference, I was reminded that colleagues in Israel refer to collaborative practice in Hebrew as “L’hitgaresh B’Shalom,” which literally translates as “To Divorce In Peace” or “The Peaceful Divorce.”

This is not to say that collaborative divorce is an easy process.  Another Tampa attorney refers to collaborative divorce as “the tough, but sensible, way to resolve family disputes,” and that’s an apt description.  After all, divorce – no matter how it is resolved – is a difficult and emotional process.

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