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If The Law Firm of Linda A. Bailey is filing a petition on your behalf or filing an answer to a petition that has been served on you, we would like for you to complete some forms and gather a number of documents.

_Our Certified Legal Assistant, Angie Wallenfelsz, will work with you to complete these forms and comply with the requirements. A Financial Affidavit and Certificate of Compliance with mandatory disclosure must be filed within 45 days of the service of the initial petition upon you or upon your spouse. We would like to have your information in our office within 30 days to allow us time to organize and prepare the final forms for your signature. Information that you provide will be compiled into documents that will be signed and sworn to by you.

Financial Affidavit.

The first document you will need to complete is a Financial Affidavit. You can download the form at this link.

Linda Bailey will let you know what form to complete:

    • a “short form” [Form 12.902(b)], for individuals with gross income of less than $50,000.
RTF / PDF / WEB FORM

or

    • a “long form” affidavit [Form 12.902(c)], for individuals with gross income of over $50,000.
RTF / PDF / WEB FORM*
*This form will be made electronically fillable soon. Temporarily, the form can be printed out and typed into or filled in by hand. It is a fully official court form, as it stands.

These forms can be found at this link, if the links above aren’t active:
http://www.flcourts.org/gen_public/family/forms_rules/index.shtml#petsup

Our attorneys might instruct you to complete the long form even though your income is less than $50,000, if your case presents special reasons to use that form.

A. Instructions for completion of the income section of your financial affidavit:
    • You do not need to tell us the amount of taxes that are withheld from your income. We will assist with computing the appropriate level of withholding taxes to report on your affidavit.
    • Only list dues or retirement contributions if they are mandatorily deducted from your salary. If they are voluntarily deducted, you should list them in the expenses section of your affidavit.
    • For the health insurance deduction from your salary, you will also need to find out the cost of dependent coverage, only, which is information that can be provided to you by your human resources department or health insurance provider. Often if you can determine the cost for your single coverage and the cost you actually pay, we can calculate the portion attributable only to your children. This figure is important for child support determinations and will be recorded on the expense portion of your affidavit under “health insurance paid on behalf of children.”
     

B. Instructions for completion of the expenses section of your financial affidavit:
    • Some of these numbers will be averages, and they do not have to be exact, but should be as close as possible to the actual amounts.
    • If you maintain two households or are paying a portion of a mortgage and rent in a new location, you should enter both.
    • Footnote where necessary, or clarify to the side, if you have any doubt or question.
     

C. Instructions for completion of the assets and liabilities sections of your financial affidavit: 
    • List all assets that are in your name, your name with your spouse, your name with others, or your spouse’s name with others. Again, you may need to make notations to clarify.
    • If there are assets that you believe are non-marital, you still need to list those. Linda Bailey will make the determination as to whether an asset or liability is non-marital.
    • List any accounts or other assets that you believe your spouse may have, (e.g., retirement account), even if you do not have any other information.
     

Certificate of Compliance with Automatic Mandatory Disclosure.

Also on the Supreme Court website is a form entitled “Certificate of Compliance with Automatic Mandatory Disclosure, Form 12.932. RTF / PDF

    • Carefully review the list under Section 2 of this form and provide originals or copies of all of the required documents that are in your possession or that you can obtain by placing a phone call or going online. We are happy to make copies or hold your originals until your case is complete, at which time they will be returned to you.
    • If you obtain statements online, please be sure that the statement contains the name or names of the individuals on the account, the account number, and the bank, credit union, credit card company, etc. Many times the computer printouts do not have all of this required information.
    • If there is an item that does not apply to you, (e.g., if you have not prepared any loans applications or financial statements within the previous 12 months), please mark the item as “not applicable” so that we know you have not overlooked it.
    • Keep in mind that you will sign a sworn statement that the items you provide are, to the best of your knowledge, all items in your possession or control that comply with the required list.
    • If there are items, accounts, companies, etc., that were acquired during your marriage that may or may not be held in your name, individually, or with your spouse, you should provide us with all of the relevant information. A common situation would be if you are on an account with a parent or child or are the beneficiary of another’s account. Our attorneys will make the determination as to whether it is considered a marital or non-marital item.
     

All of the documents you provide to us and all of the documents provided to us by the opposing side will be returned to you at the conclusion of your case.

Discovery.

Once we have completed these forms and exchanged them with opposing counsel, your attorney will decide if your case is ready to go to mediation, or if there is further discovery necessary in your case. Discovery is a term used to describe the process of obtaining additional information not covered by the documents or affidavit provided. Discovery can be a request for additional documents, a list of detailed questions to be answered (interrogatories), or the taking of a deposition or depositions. A deposition is the process of the attorney asking questions of someone, usually your spouse, under oath.

If no additional discovery is required, your case will be set for mediation. For an explanation of how the mediation process works, please go to the “Mediation” tab on our website.

Mediation.

Your case can be partially or completely settled at mediation. If you reach a full settlement, your case will be set for an ex parte final hearing. The party who filed the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage will usually be the only party who attends the final hearing.

Ex Parte Final Hearing.

In an ex parte final hearing, an agreement has been reached and the petitioning party is the only party required to attend the final hearing. If you are the spouse who filed for the dissolution of marriage, you and your attorney will attend a short hearing at which time the judge will ask you a few simple questions, and sign a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. At this time, your divorce will be final.

 If your case does not settle at mediation, your attorney will proceed with discovery, as stated above, and will do other things that are necessary to prepare your case for a final hearing before a judge. The final hearing will consist of testimony taken by the attorneys of you, your spouse, and any other witnesses that may be necessary. At the conclusion, the judge will make a ruling on all of the matters in your case, or those matters that were not settled at mediation.