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What is Financial Discovery and Why Do I Have to Do It?

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Let’s talk about a crucial step in the divorce journey – financial discovery. It might sound a bit intimidating, but fear not, we’re here to guide you through it with a friendly touch. 

So, when you’re navigating the divorce process in sunny Florida, there’s a little thing called financial discovery. Essentially, it’s all about gathering the necessary information to prepare for trial or settlement. Even if you and your soon-to-be-ex are considering an uncontested divorce, it’s vital to know what’s on the horizon.

In the Sunshine State, there are rules (cue Fla. Fam. Law. R. P. 12.280) outlining the do’s and don’ts of this discovery dance. Both parties have to spill the beans, so to speak, by disclosing documents like tax returns, bank statements, and more. It’s called “mandatory disclosure,” a bit like the divorce homework everyone needs to do. But hey, in certain situations, you can opt out with a written waiver signed by both parties.

Now, let’s demystify the tools in this financial discovery toolbox. Fla. Fam. Law. R. P. 12.280 introduces us to the financial affidavit – a document where you lay out your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. It’s the roadmap used throughout the divorce proceedings to figure out alimony, child support, attorney’s fees, and more. Honesty is the name of the game when filling this one out – it’s sworn to, after all.

Now, here’s the kicker – Fla. Fam. Law. R. P. 12.280 also throws in a new twist: the joint waiver of financial discovery. Yep, you heard that right. This little gem allows couples to skip the whole financial affidavit rigamarole if both parties are on board. It’s like saying, “We’re good, we trust each other, let’s cut to the chase.”

But a word to the wise – honesty is still the name of the game, even with this joint waiver. So, if you’re thinking of taking the shortcut, make sure you’re both on the same page and ready to lay all your cards on the table. Transparency is key, folks!

But wait, there’s more! We’ve got interrogatories, which are like written Q&A sessions for your spouse. Then there are requests for admissions – asking your spouse to confirm or deny certain facts. Request for production is all about asking for specific documents, and depositions are like courtroom rehearsals, questioning your spouse under oath. Remember many of these steps could be alleviated if you and your spouse work together in disclosing your marital assets or if you do not have much to disclose.

Yes, it sounds like a lot, but here’s the silver lining – this financial discovery process is your key to understanding the financial landscape. To make it a breeze, start by creating a list of your bank accounts, insurances, expenses, assets, and liabilities. It’s like packing for a journey – being prepared makes it all easier and quicker. 🧳


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