Honesty and transparency are so important when finalising your divorce and family law settlement.
The Family Law requires everyone to be honest and transparent as to their financial position and have imposed a duty of “full and frank financial disclosure”. The purpose of the duty 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 and include your tax returns and Notice of Assessments, bank and credit statements, payslips, loan agreements and all other documents that are noted in Rule 13.01 of the Family Law Rules. Documents required to be disclosed include documents that the other parties may not otherwise know exist.
The duty of disclosure commences when the parties start negotiating their settlement until the matter is finalised. Therefore, if the matter was to proceed to a final hearing, then financial disclosure must be continuously disclosed to the other party until the final hearing.
A few important things to take note of:
- If you and your ex have reached an agreement, you must make sure you both know what the other party has. This table or completing a financial statement is a great way for parties to a separation to note down what they each have before attempting to finalise their agreement.
- The parties in a family law dispute must also 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.”
- If one party has not provided “full and frank disclosure” or the value of the assets and liabilities of the property pool have not been agreed upon, then no agreement can be finalised between the parties.
- If Consent Orders (or a Binding Financial Agreement) have been entered into without “full and frank disclosure” then those agreements may be set aside by the Court. If the matter was before the Court and one party refused to provide financial disclosure then they may be found to be in contempt of Court.
For more information about your financial disclosure obligations, give us a call here. Our lawyers can discuss your needs and goals with your and help you finalise your settlement agreements quickly and cost-effectively.