Following the breakdown of a relationship, there is often a lot of mistrust between parties and this is particularly relevant where one party thinks that the other party is trying to hide some of their assets.
In a family law property settlement, the most important legal requirement is for each person to provide “full and frank disclosure” to the other person and to the Court. This means that each person has an obligation to disclose their current financial position to the other person or their lawyer and to provide copies of all documents relevant to the property settlement and the issues in the case. This includes tax returns, bank statements, superannuation statements and loan documents, just to name a few.
There can be serious consequences if one person does not fully disclose their financial circumstances. The consequences are even more serious when the Court makes an Order for parties to family law proceedings to comply with their disclosure obligations and one party does not fully disclose.
Our firm appeared in a recent case where the Wife had not fully disclosed their financial situation prior to the parties attending a Conciliation Conference before the Registrar. Our client had provided full and frank disclosure of his financial circumstances and numerous requests were made for the Wife to provide further documentation about her assets. Consequently, the Registrar was of the view that the Conciliation Conference could not proceed as the matter was not properly prepped. The Registrar proceeded to make a Costs Order against the Wife for the Wife to pay our client’s legal fees for us to attend the Conference.
This case acts as a timely reminder of the importance complying with your disclosure obligations in family law matters.
If you are currently going through a separation and your former partner is refusing to fully disclose their current financial position or is requesting financial documents from you and you are not sure what you need to provide, you should contact one of our Family Law solicitors to obtain legal advice and assistance as soon as possible.