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Mandatory Disclosure in Family Law Cases

The Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure 12.285 requires parties in most family law cases to make certain disclosures to the other side, this is called Mandatory Disclosure (MD). The documents must be produced within 45 days from the date the case was filed or that date you were served. The documents include, but are not limited to: a financial affidavit, child support guidelines, bank account statements, real estate information, and other investment account statements. The parties may agree NOT to exchange such information, with the exception of financial affidavits and child support guidelines which are required, however without such an agreement you MUST produce the documents. If you fail to produce the documents the other side can file a Motion to Compel you to Comply and in most cases will get an order compelling you comply with MD. If, after and Order Compelling has been entered the party still does not comply that person can be held in contempt, charged attorney's fees and even incarcerated.

Of the documents required in MD, the most important document is the financial affidavit. This document is arguably the most important documents filed in a family law case. The financial affidavit list all of a parties debts and assets as well as their income and expenses, it even outlines for the Court what, if anything, the party would like he Court to do with the asset or debt. While most law firms prepare these documents for their client, it is the client who is swearing under oath to truth of the document and client should pay close attention to the contents of the financial affidavit.

This MD requirement is an example of many procedural requirements that make it challenging for a person to navigate the world of family law without an attorney. While the Supreme Court offers do-it-yourself forms which lead many people to the belief that they are able to get divorced, modify child support or establish paternity on their own, these forms make the process seem deceptively simple.


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