Does it Matter When I File for Divorce?

When a spouse decides that their marriage is irretrievably broken and decides to file for divorce, does it matter when they file their divorce papers?  Is there any significance attached to that date?  In a Florida divorce, the date on which you file you divorce papers is known as the date of filing and it is important for various reasons.

The date of filing is important because it will act as the final snap shot of the finances of the marriage.  In analyzing equitable distribution and identifying and valuing all the assets and liabilities of the marriage, the time frame that the Court will ultimately look at is the time between the date of the marriage and the date of the filing for divorce.  All assets and liabilities accumulated by the parties during that period are subject to the equitable distribution process of a Florida divorce.   

For example, if there is $10,000 in a joint account on the date of filing, and the next day one of the spouses cashes it out and takes a vacation with it, the spouse who drained the account will most likely be responsible to the other spouse for half of the money, or $5,000.  This is because on the date of filing a financial snap shot was taken and it shows that there was $10,000 in an account that should have been divided equally.  As a side note, this does not mean that a spouse can take all that money in anticipation of the date of filing and get away with it because there is an area of the law called dissipation of assets that could still hold that spouse responsible.  

It is important when speaking to your Florida family law attorney to address how the date of filing of your dissolution of marriage action affects all aspects of your case.