Financial disclosure family law relates to parties’ obligations to make full and frank financial disclosure in family law cases. This means that parties must make an accurate and honest financial disclosure in family law proceedings.
This is especially relevant in divorce and separation cases. Each party must disclose all information regarding their assets and other financial resources.
When should parties disclose information? Notably, financial disclosure in family law proceedings is an ongoing procedure. Therefore, any relevant information needs to be updated regularly.
Only once the Court makes final orders will this obligation of disclosure cease.
This article will discuss the topic of financial disclosure in family law by exploring the types of information that parties have to disclose, and the consequences of not complying with this obligation.
Financial Disclosure Family Law: What Do We Need To Disclose?
Rule 13.01 of the Family Law Rules (2004) states that “each party to a case has the duty to provide a full and frank disclosure of all information relevant to the proceedings in a timely manner.”
This includes any information that is relevant to the ongoing proceedings. Therefore, financial disclosure in family law matters will include disclosing information regarding:
- Shares and investments
- Sole assets – like property
- All other financial resources
Moreover, you must also disclose information about any jointly held assets. A party should disclose other information in detail such as:
- A party’s income and earnings
- Interest in property
- Other financial resources
- If party has disposed any property either by sale or transfer as gift
- Copies of bank statements, pay slips, tax returns
How To Disclose Information?
Parties can exchange Information or disclosure in a variety of different ways. These include:
- Parties produce relevant documents;
- Through orders of disclosure;
- Providing answers to specific questions;
- List of documents;
- Inspecting documents; or
- Copying documents,
Commonly, a party may request the other party to provide some document. Upon this request, the other party may present all necessary documents. Moreover, parties usually provide a list of documents for disclosure.
Disclosure In Parenting Matters Vs Disclosure In Financial Matters
Under family law, the two most common issues are related with parenting matters including custody arrangements, and financial matters like division of assets.
Importantly, the kinds of information that parties have to disclose will depend on the type of family law matter. While certain information will be required for both, there will be minor differences in the specific documentation that is required.
In case of parenting matters in family law, parties must disclose the following information and documents, among others:
- Medical reports of the party, or the child;
- Criminal records and checks;
- School reports;
- Art work done by the child
Notably, the type of documents and information will also differ based on individual circumstances of a case. For instance, in families where there were instances of violence, some additional documents like relevant Court orders (such as AVOs) or applications will be needed.
Parties involved in financial matters should provide following documents (among others):
- Details of income
- Bank statements/payslips
- Information regarding interests in case a party has some interest in a private company
- Documents related to partnership (if applicable)
- Information regarding liabilities on both sole and jointly held assets (mortgages, debts on cards, personal loans etc)
What Happens If I Fail To Make A Full And Frank Disclosure?
According to Rule 13.01 of Family Law Rules (2004), a failure to make financial disclosure in family law matters can lead to punishment. This is because it is regarded as a contempt of court.
Firstly, the court makes an order asking a party to disclose all information. The Courts may:
- Disallow a party from using any information that has not been disclosed on a later date;
- Dismiss the party’s case.
Moreover, if the party disobeys the court orders, the court may ask the party to pay for all legal costs for the other involved party.
In serious matters, the courts will impose some fine on the party. Moreover, the courts may also impose a term of imprisonment for failure of disclosure, and false disclosures or undertakings.
Therefore, making honest disclosures is extremely important. Importantly, recent reforms have made the process of disclosure more transparent. Since April 1, 2022, former spouses can make applications to the ATO, to request to disclose information regarding their ex’s superannuation.
JB Solicitors’ Legal Advice For All Family Law Matters
The topic of full and frank disclosure is only one component that is important under family law. Family law consists of various complicated matters. They are also often more personal than other legal matters.
Since families and children are involved, parties in a family law case feel acute stress. Each case can be overwhelming to deal with. However, with the help of the right family lawyer, your matter can be handled efficiently in a stress-free manner.
At JB Solicitors, our family solicitors are committed to providing each and everyone with timely legal guidance. We have a team of award-winning lawyers who are passionate about resolving your legal troubles.
Our family lawyers are experts in various matters including child custody issues, property settlement, matters related to consent orders, and binding financial agreements. Moreover, we have expert mediators and arbitrators in our team.
Incase you and your former spouse are unable to reach an agreement, and your dispute is never-ending, you should attend mediation. In mediation sessions, experienced solicitors are able to assist each party to reach satisfactory agreements.
We offer fixed-fee prices for many of our services. This helps you gain an estimate on all legal costs, thereby assisting you when you are making your decision. If you choose to avail our legal services, we also draw up costs agreement beforehand so that you are well aware of all the costs involved.
We value transparency, and are passionate about the community.
For more enquiries, get in touch with our friendly lawyers. Alternatively, you can call our office at 02 9723 8080.