In Florida, when a divorce is filed, that becomes the cutoff date at which assets and liabilities are identified as marital or non-marital. Anything acquired after that date with post-filing earnings or any money saved from post-filing earnings would be considered non-marital.
In Collaborative Divorce we don’t have a filing date. So, when is the date of identification of assets and liabilities in a Collaborative matter? Should the date be the date the Participation Agreement is signed? That is sort of the equivalent to the “filing date.” Or should it be a decision of the parties? If so, when should that decision be made?
In too many cases, the decision is put off. Once clients learn what the date means, or their attorney chimes in, too often the decision is made to “see what the production tells us.” But is that the Collaborative thing to do? Or is that showing a level of distrust at the start of the case?
That happened in a case I am currently involved in and now we are coming down to final negotiations and one of the sticking points is what should be the date of identification. During the six months process the husband has continued to save money from his earnings. Should the wife benefit? Seems to me that by our inaction, we have just added another layer of discord.
What is your experience and opinion?