We get may questions about the Florida financial affidavit. The most popoulat question is whether you must file a Florida financial affidavit in your divorce. Those divorcing couples who have made
agreements as to the property and children often want to skip filing a Florida financial affdiavit because they "have an agreement," and well, frankly, doing the affidavit is pain in the neck sometimes.
Guess what? You have to file a Florida financial affidavit in your divorce or paternity case unless you are eligible to use the Simplified Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (no children and either no property or a property agreement). In all other Florida divorce and paternity cases both parties MUST file the financial affidavit. I have even heard tell that some Clerks of Court will not accept your do it yourself paperwork without your affidavit. That's because the financial affidavit is required by Florida law.
Lawyers will tell you that the Florida financial affidavit is one of the most important documents in your divorce or paternity case. The Court will use the affidavits from both parties to divide property in a divorce and to set child support amounts in paternity and divorce cases. If, somewhere down the road, you discover that there was marital property which was not disclosed in the divorce, the financial affidavits will provide the basis to show that property was hidden and not disclosed to you.
Florida financial affidavits are a snapshot of your current financial condition. You may need to file different versions if your expenses or income will be changing with the divorce. For example, if you are leaving the marital home and setting up another home, you may file a Florida financial affidavit with your new expenses on it so that you can demonstrate the need for alimony (just an example). The bottom line is that yes, you must file a Florida financial affidavit with your case.
If you are one of the lucky ones and succeed in your appeal, the appeallate court may "remand" your DIY divorce case to the trial court. But what does that really mean? Well, first things first - it means that you do not have an order any longer. Your appeal succeeded and it served to wipe out the order or judgment that was appealed.
The remand is an instruction to the trial court to re-do the trial which led to the order that was overturned on appeal. Similar to a mulligan in golf, you have a chance to present the evidence again. As a practical matter this means that you need to move the case toward trial again. A remand also means that nothing in the original order which was appealed still stands. So there is no child support order to be enforced. There is no alimony order to be enforced. In fact, you may not even be divorced if it was a final judgment disoolving your marriage.
It is important to read the remand order carefully and follow its instructions precisely. This is a good time to seek out unbundled legal services so that your case stays on track.
Through the years I've seen many divorcing couples at the end of their marriages. At first I wondered how they got to the point of divorce. After observing divorcing couples for more than two decades now, I have noticed some common characteristics of divorcing couples which leads me to believe that these are the leading causes of divorce:
1. Not keeping the lines of communication open. Good communication requires both the ability to express and listen. Communication skills can be learned.
2. Thinking that your disagreements will resolve themselves. Deal with your disagreements when they arise or you are likely to havbe some variartion on the same argument for the next fifty years.
3. Making assumptions. This is closely related to communication skills. Do not just assume you know how your partner feels or how s/he would react.
4. Not expressing gratitude. Tell your partner something that you appreciate about her/him on a daily basis.
5. Treating your partner as your enemy. This is serious. Your partner shouldn't EVER feel like your enemy. If there's so much anger that you feel like you are enemies, get help as soon as possible.
6. Blaming your partner for your feelings. You are responsible for your own feelings. Remember that you have the power to change your thinking and your behavior. You don;t have to stay stuck in negative patterns.
Divorce is serious business. If you don't want to fall prey to the leading causes of divorce, pay attention to the warning signals and take action. Don't let discontent fester or you may head to divorce court too.
If you are already seeing the signs for any of these leading causes of divorce, consider a counselor, coach or therapist. Communication is key. If you can master good communication skills, you can save your marriage.
If there isn't money in your budget for on-going individual help, you might want to try a special e-book that some of my counselor and therapist friends put together. All of them have tons of experience helping people save their marriages. They understand that perceptions about your partner are the key to sving your marriage. Their book, Save the Marriage, is a good deal and really does help people who want to save their marriage from the leading causes of divorce.
I just posted this on my law office website and thought you'd like it too.
Two recent imputed income cases discuss the proper amount of imputed income to use when calculating alimony and child support. Both of these imputed income cases were released in June 2012 from the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach.
Imputed Income Cases
In Vitro v Vitro, the court imputed income of $30,000 to the former wife. That had been her started salary at a real estate firm in 2005. She was promoted and received raises and earned $60,000 in 2009 before her employment ended. After the trial ended, she got a job for $15/hour with no benefits or overtime. Mr. Vitro thought his former wife should have looked for management jobs in addition to administrative assistant jobs. The appeals court found that the trial court is in the best position to make the determination of what the proper amount of imputed income was for the wife. There is a good explanation of how the court has to determine imputed income in the decision.
In another Fourth District case on imputed income, Mr. Piedra was charged with imputed income in an amount equal to last year's gross business profit by the trial court. After describing the process for imputing income, the court decided that it was an error to charge him with the gross profit amount. Any business income, including imputed income, has to be the NET income - income less legitimate business expenses.
The court also noted that the former husband had started a new business with his brother - and it had a similar name to the family business he closed just before the divorce. While claiming no income form the new business, Mr. Piedra took a job as a mechanic for $400/week - about 20% of his former income.
DIY Imputed Income
It can be difficult to present a case involving imputed income when you are representing yourself. This is one case where I definitely recommend having an attorney represent you or at least coach you through the imputed income process. You can see from these new cases that it is not easy, even for attorneys, to present the evidence for imputed income cases.