Do I have to File a Financial Affidavit in Florida Divorce Cases?
Do I have to file a financial affidavit in Florida divorce cases? In Daniel v. Daniel, 922 So.2d 1041 (4th DCA 2006), the Court heard arguments from the husband’s attorney regarding whether requiring him to fill out a financial affidavit violated his right to privacy. This was a divorce, non-simplified dissolution of marriage case; involving a marriage of sixteen years. The spouses had no antenuptial (prenuptial) agreement, wife’s petition requested permanent financial relief (permanent alimony), and the wife objected to husband’s attempt to avoid filing financial affidavit.
It is important to note that in almost every divorce case, a financial affidavit is a basic requirement under mandatory disclosure, and both parties must comply. The only circumstance wherein a party, or both parties, may avoid providing the court with a financial affidavit is where there is a marital settlement agreement in a simplified dissolution of marriage case that is private, and the parties mutually agree to not notify the court. Not every court will countenance this sort of arrangement and may require the marital settlement agreement and financial affidavits be filed despite the wishes/request of the parties. Now, back to Daniel v. Daniel, and our original question, do I have to file a financial affidavit in Florida divorce cases?
Financial Affidavit in Florida Divorce Cases
In Daniel, the Court decided that a husband MUST (mandatory disclosure) file financial affidavit in non-simplified dissolution proceeding involving request for permanent financial relief, and further ruled that such a discovery request did not violate the husband’s right to privacy. The Court’s rationale was that a financial affidavit is essential when the Court is trying to do justice and equity in a Florida divorce case. The Court will likely hear arguments from both sides concerning property divisions, alimony, and a final decree may turn on financial condition of parties. The Court decided that any Florida family law court could not do right thing without sufficient information about parties’ finances. Family Law Rules of Proc., Rule 12.285(d). When you ask yourself, do I have to file a financial affidavit in Florida divorce cases, consider the Court’s decision in Daniel, and engage in best practices for openness and judicial equity. A motion to compel may follow a refusal to provide mandatory disclosure.