One of the most challenging aspects of the average divorce process involves gathering and reporting information about one’s assets and finances. Even the most responsible and conscientious adults likely don’t have information about the current valuation of each one of their assets at their fingertips. As a result, navigating the legal reporting requirements traditionally required by the Florida family courts has been less than straightforward for many divorcing couples.
Thankfully, financial reporting requirements have just been made easier for those who opt to settle their differences without judicial intervention. Although couples who litigate their divorce cases will still be required to file detailed financial affidavits with the courts, those who resolve their property division concerns via mediation, attorney-led negotiation, and/or direct communication with their spouse will generally be relieved of one key challenge associated with this burden moving forward.
Will This Shift Negatively Impact An Individual’s Interests?
As the experienced Tampa family attorneys at The McKinney Law Group can explain in greater detail for those who have questions, safeguards have been built into the new reporting requirements to help ensure that one spouse still cannot take significant advantage of the other during the Florida property division process.
Specifically, the state will still generally require spouses to exchange financial affidavits with one another during the uncontested divorce process and to “acknowledge that the responsibility to retain records rests solely with them.” The right of discovery also remains intact for both spouses. What has shifted is the need to file these detailed and intrusive forms with the courts in the event of an uncontested divorce. Meaning, those who can avoid litigation can also avoid a very public filing of their detailed financial holdings as a matter of formal record.
Why Compiling Accurate Financial Information Is So Important During Divorce
At the heart of most divorce proceedings is the division of assets and liabilities. This division, when done right, ensures that both parties can transition into their separate lives with a semblance of financial stability. But achieving this balance hinges on having a complete and accurate picture of one’s marital finances.
If assets or liabilities are hidden or misrepresented, it can lead to an unequal distribution that may unfairly benefit one party over the other. Such discrepancies, when discovered later, can lead to further legal complications and added emotional distress.
Accurate financial information also plays a critical role in determining spousal and child support. These determinations rely heavily on the earnings, expenses, assets, and debts of each party. An incorrect representation can lead to support amounts that are either too high or too low, leading to potential hardships. Furthermore, clear financial records pave the way for smoother negotiations. When both parties are informed, they can make decisions based on facts rather than assumptions or emotions. This clarity can reduce the duration and cost of the divorce process, allowing both individuals to move forward more swiftly.
Ultimately, it’s essential to avoid neglecting the importance of compiling accurate financial information prior to commencing divorce negotiations. While Florida law now allows these efforts to remain truly private during uncontested divorces, the need to compile this information and to assess it accurately remains relevant.