Family Law: What do I have to Disclose?


What do I have to Disclose in my Family Law Matter?

In family law, there is a duty of disclosure to provide to the other party in a matter and to the Court, information about your financial circumstances and any documents that are relevant to the matter. Full and frank disclosure often requires you to provide all the following types of documents:
1.    Bank statements from separation to present
2.    Documents relating to any property disposed of sine separation
3.    Details of any family trusts
4.    Details of any family business information
5.    Statements from your superannuation account(s)
6.    Your last three tax returns
7.    Your last three payslips
8.    Details of any personal loans or other debts you may owe at present

The above are just some examples of the types of documents that you may be required to provide. Your duty to disclose remains in place until such time that your matter is finalised. This means that if your financial circumstances change, you have an obligation to advise the other party. Similarly, if you believe the other party’s financial circumstances have changed, you have the right to ask them for updated financial disclosure.
If you fail to disclose, there can be a myriad of consequences that may follow. For example, the Court could decide to dismiss all or part of your case, you may be issued a fine, you may be found guilty for contempt of Court and this could result in imprisonment, the other side could seek costs against you for unnecessarily delaying the matter or the Court could make a finding in absence of your disclosure on a particular issue. For example, if you refused to provide an updated bank statement and the other side stated that they believed you had recently received $25,000 into your account, your refusal to provide an updated bank statement to clarify the issue could result a finding in the absence of your disclosure.

Therefore, it is important to comply with your duty to disclose as the consequences may be severe if you fail to provide documents that are requested.
If you have any questions about what you do or do not need to provide to the other side or if you have any safety concerns in relation to information that may be listed on your disclosure documents, we encourage you to contact our office to find out what you do and do not have to give to the other side.   Click here for our contact details.