You Have the Right to Know the Truth about Your Spouse’s Finances During Your Divorce
Conflicts about money are one of the main causes of divorce, so many people feel a great sense of relief when their divorce is finalized and they no longer have to argue with their spouse about every purchase, every debt payment, and every loan or monetary gift to a friend or family member. After your divorce becomes final, your spouse cannot require you to disclose information about your finances unless one of you seeks to modify an order for child support or alimony because of a change in financial circumstances. In a divorce, though, financial disclosures are a standard part of the process, whether or not the case goes to trial. The court must know the value of each party’s marital and non-marital assets in order to know whether it is dividing them equitably, even if it is simply approving the division of assets agreed upon by the couple during mediation. If your spouse is refusing to share information about his or her finances during your divorce case, contact a South Florida divorce lawyer.
The State Is the Third Party in Every Divorce Case
Karlin and Barbara Daniel married in 1986; Barbara filed for divorce in 2003, and their divorce became final in 2004. They did not have children, nor did they have a prenuptial agreement. When Barbara filed the divorce petition, she attached a financial affidavit. In February 2004, the parties attended mediation, during which they produced an agreement. The agreement said that there had been a full disclosure and valuation of marital property. It also stated that Karlin would pay Barbara a lump sum of $150,000, and after that she would not seek any more alimony.
The court approved the mediation agreement, but the following day, Barbara filed a motion to set it aside. She said that Karlin had not disclosed the value of the marital home, among other assets, and that she had only signed the mediation agreement in order to end the stressful process of mediation as quickly as possible. She claimed that Karlin’s failure to submit a financial affidavit constituted a violation of the Family Law Rules of Procedure. The court ordered Karlin to file a financial affidavit, but he objected on the grounds that it violated his right to privacy.
The court ruled that the obligation of a party in a divorce case to submit a financial affidavit supersedes that party’s right to privacy about his or her financial matters. It reasoned that the state has an interest in every couple’s divorce, almost as if it were a third party in the case. Equitable distribution, which must be based on true financial disclosures, is the state’s best protection against the financially disadvantaged party in the divorce becoming financially dependent on the state. Therefore, both spouses must submit financial disclosures before a judge can make an informed decision about equitable distribution.
Let Us Help You Today
Being honest with the court about your finances during your divorce can prevent post-divorce disputes, which would require even more financial disclosures. Contact the Boca Raton divorce lawyers at Schwartz | White for help today.