Financial Disclosure in Family Law
Financial disclosure in Family Law Property Proceedings
Financial Disclosure is an important part of finalising your family law property matter, whether or not you are involved in a court proceeding. A party’s disclosure obligations in relation to property matters are set out in Chapter 13 and rule 12.02 of the Family Law Rules 2004 and rule 24.03 and 24.04 of the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001.
If you need assistance with your financial disclosure obligations, finalising your family law property settlement or any other family law issue, contact our family lawyers Brisbane or our family lawyers North Brisbane. Our priority is to assist our clients to finalise their family law issues with their former partner on an amicable basis. If court action does however become necessary, we have the experience to represent you effectively at Court. You are also welcome to read on….
What is the duty of disclosure?
Financial disclosure requires the parties to a family law dispute to provide to each other party with all information relevant to an issue in the case. Essentially, its purpose is to allow the other party to understand your true financial position. Financial disclosure includes disclosure of information recorded in a paper document or otherwise stored, such electronically on a computer or other device. Documents required to be disclosed include documents that the other parties may not otherwise know exist.
The duty regards financial disclosure starts prior to a matter coming before the Court and will usually form part of the pre-action procedures extending through negotiations, mediation and if necessary Court proceedings. The duty continues until your case is finalised.
The parties in the family law dispute must continue to provide documents by way of financial disclosure as their circumstances change (such as after the sale of an asset or spending of money from a bank account) or when more documents are created (such as new bank statements) or come into their “possession, power or control.”
Full and frank disclosure in financial cases
The specific rules about full and frank disclosure in financial cases set out in both the Family Law Rules 2004 and the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001 provide a non-exhaustive list of the type of documents required to be disclosed. Disclosure must be of the party’s total direct and indirect financial circumstances.
The rules requiring financial disclosure extend to disclosure of all sources of earnings, interest, income, property (vested or contingent interests) and other financial resources. This applies whether the property, financial resources and earnings are owned by or come to the party directly or indirectly, such as where a party’s new de facto partner or friend holds property (including savings) on behalf of that party or where a party has a controlling interest over an entity such as a corporation or trust that holds property.
Financial disclosure also requires disclosure of information about any property disposal (whether by sale, transfer, assignment or gift) that was made in the year immediately before the separation of the parties or since the final separation and that may affect, defeat or deplete a claim.
If a party fails to provide financial disclosure or file an undertaking in relation to financial circumstances or files a false undertaking as to financial circumstances, the Court has the option to:
- refuse to allow the party to use that information or document as evidence part of their case;
- stay or dismiss all or part of the defaulting party’s case;
- make an order for costs against the defaulting party; or
- fine or imprison the defaulting party upon being found guilty of contempt of court for not disclosing the document or for breaching the undertaking of financial circumstances.
Contact our experienced family law property settlement lawyers at LGM Family Law (Ph.: 07 3506 3651). Our family lawyers Brisbane and family lawyers North Brisbane have the experience to assist you with your financial disclosure obligations and to resolve your family law property matter so that you can get on with life.