What Is Mandatory Disclosure?

Having these financial documents on hand when filing for dissolution of marriage.

In a family law case, each party must provide certain information and documentation to the other party, allowing both parties to be fully informed regarding the other party's financial situation. This legal requirement is known as Mandatory Disclosure and is governed by Rule 12.285 of the Florida Family Court Rules of Procedure.

According to this rule, the documents must be served on the other party within 45 days of service for a petition requesting a dissolution of marriage. Additionally, a supplemental petition for modification on the respondent will also require the serving of mandatory disclosure documents within the same timeframe of 45 days.

Mandatory disclosure applies to all original and supplemental dissolution of marriage cases, with a few exceptions. If the dissolution case involves a simplified dissolution of marriage, an adoption or the respondent was given constructive notice and did not answer, then mandatory disclosure will not apply as it usually does. Instead, a party will simply use legal forms to notify both the court and the other party that you are in compliance with the rule of mandatory disclosure. Ask your attorney for the full scope of exceptions to determine whether mandatory disclosure will apply to your case.

Most Floridians, however, will be automatically required to disclose financial information upon filing for divorce. After realizing financial information must be disclosed, many Florida clients then question what kinds of documents and information is required by mandatory disclosure. Here is what Florida law has to say on the matter.

Information That Must Be Disclosed Under the Mandatory Disclosure Rule

For starters, Rule 12.285 makes explicitly clear that financial affidavits must be exchanged and cannot be waived. For reference, a financial affidavit is essentially a sworn statement about their income, assets, liabilities and so on.

In addition to the exchange of affidavits, Rule 12.285 will require the exchange of additional documents pertaining to finances, including:

  • Deeds

  • Insurance Policies and Health Coverage Information

  • Bank and Credit Card Statements

  • Brokerage Account and Retirement Plan Statements

  • Personal Federal and State Income Tax Returns

  • Gift Tax Returns and Intangible Personal Property Tax Returns

  • IRS Forms for the Past Year

  • Pay Stubs and Similar Evidence of Earned Income Over the Past 3 Months

  • Loan Applications

  • Premarital and Marital Agreements Between the Parties

  • Court Orders Directing You to Pay or Receive Child Support and/or Alimony

  • Any Documents Used to Support a Claim for Distribution of Marital Property Purposes

Unlike the financial affidavit, both parties can choose to waive the exchange of these additional documents. If both parties agree to do so, a waiver of mandatory disclosure must be executed and filed with the Court.

In either case, parties have an ongoing duty to update mandatory disclosure — including the financial affidavit — when a party's financial situation materially changes. While the details of mandatory disclosure are extensive, your Florida family law attorney will help you navigate the complexities, ensuring you remain in compliance with Rule 12.285.

If you have questions regarding mandatory disclosure, or are unaware as to the terms and conditions in, talk to, and retain, a family law attorney who can help. Contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at contact@themckinneylawgroup.com

Damien McKinney

The McKinney Law Group, 1105 West Swann Avenue, Tampa, FL, 33606, United States

Damien has practiced in of all aspects of marital and family law for his entire career and offers a rare commodity, a lawyer dedicated solely to his area of practice.