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Mandatory Discovery in Lakeland Divorce

If you are going through a divorce in Lakeland Florida, you won’t likely become familiar with state law regarding mandatory discovery until time of your divorce.

Rule 12.285 of the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure generally requires that the parties exchange certain financial information within 45 days of the serving of the divorce documents if financial relief is at issue in the divorce. The mandatory disclosure law generally requires that both sides submit financial documents proving their income and other financial information.

As the law requires “mandatory” disclosure, parties generally cannot agree to waive the disclosure requirement even if they agree to alimony or other support issues. In fact, if a party fails to comply with the mandatory disclosure requirements, he or she could face penalties.

Documents Subject to Disclosure

The documents that need to be exchanged as part of the mandatory disclosure in a Lakeland Divorce generally include financial documents like:

  • Bank statements
  • Tax return statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Retirement account information
  • Other relevant financial information

You should check with a Lakeland divorce attorney to learn exactly what documents you will need to produce and how far back you should gather the documents. For example, you may need to gather tax returns for the past three years, but only credit card statements from the past year.

Tips for Compliance With Disclosure Requirements

The mandatory discovery process can be difficult. There may be information that you will not want to produce and there may be information that is difficult to find. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Start early: 45 days is a relatively short time and you will want to start gathering documents early.
  • Utilize the internet: Most documents are available via the Internet.
  • Don’t cheat: Don’t plagiarize or willfully withhold documents. You can get in more trouble if you try to hide information.
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