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Mandatory Discovery

During a divorce in Orlando, Tampa and throughout the State of Florida, it is mandatory that the parties disclose certain documents and financial information, including a financial affidavit. These documents must be exchanged for inspection and copying within 45 days after the initial petition for divorce was served. Parties have a continuing duty to supplement documents, including financial affidavits, whenever there are significant changes to their financial status. However, the parties are not required to file and serve a financial affidavit if they are seeking a simplified dissolution of marriage, “have no minor children, have no support issues, and have filed a written settlement agreement disposing of all financial issues, or if the court lacks jurisdiction to determine any financial issues.”. Fla. Fam. Law R. Proc. 12.285.

It is mandatory that the parties disclose certain documents and financial information, including a financial affidavit.

What Documents Am I Required to Exchange?

There are 16 categories of items that the parties are required to exchange. The 16 categories include items such as tax returns, pay stubs/income, deeds, loan applications, checking and credit card statements, investments and retirement savings, and life insurance information. Additionally, if the case involves child support, the parties shall file their Child Support Guidelines Worksheet with the court at or prior to a hearing to establish or modify child support.

What Can Happen if Discovery is not Exchanged Within the Required Time?

Any document required for discovery that is served upon the opposing party less than 24 hours “before a non-final hearing or in violation of the court's pretrial order shall not be admissible in evidence at that hearing unless the court finds good cause for delay.” Additionally, the court may impose additional sanctions for failure to comply with discovery.

May the Time Period for Mandatory Discovery be Extended?

Yes. If both parties agree the discovery time period may be extended. Additionally, up to 5 days before the due date, either party may file a motion to extend the time period that will be subject to the court’s approval. 

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