The key word here is “mandatory”. Upon filing your dissolution of action matter or upon being served with a summons for a dissolution of marriage, one of the first requirements you may come across is Rule 12.285 of the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure also known as Mandatory Disclosure. This rule requires that various documents be exchanged within 45 days of the summons being served on the Respondent. The documents to be exchanged may be found in subsection (e) of Rule 12.285 within the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure. As you will see, this list requires that various financial records be disclosed or exchanged with the other party, i.e. tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, brokerage statements, retirement statements, etc. The period for which the documents shall be produced is different for each requirement within the list. For instance, the last three years of tax returns shall be disclosed along with three months of checking account statements, credit card statements as well as one year of savings account or money market statements among many other documents.
This Mandatory Disclosure list found within subsection (e) of the rule, as stated above, contains 16 different paragraphs each outlining the disclosure required. In addition, some paragraphs may contain more than one set of documents to be disclosed. Therefore, to gather and provide these mandatory disclosure documents can be somewhat cumbersome and time consuming. Often times, parties do not have these documents in their possession. However, with the majority of parties today having the ability to access the internet, complying with these requirements is a little easier since most documents can be obtained online. Regardless, some parties do not wish to exchange these documents for one reason or another. While this is not the norm, the rule does allow for the parties to waive mandatory disclosure with one exception. In most cases, unless you are filing for an uncontested dissolution of marriage or a simplified dissolution of marriage, the Financial Affidavit as required to be exchanged per 12.285 (e)(1) must be exchanged prior to the court entering the final judgment. That being understood, the remainder of the requirements should simply support the information contained within your financial affidavit. Thus, if you are comfortable with the information the other party provided within their financial affidavit, then you may want to consider the possibility of waiving the remainder of this rule. Needless to say, assuming you are complying with this entire rule, don’t delay and begin gathering these documents immediately!!