What is financial disclosure and do you really need to respond to requests to provide it?

What is financial disclosure and do you really need to respond to requests to provide it?

In property settlement matters, parties have an obligation to provide to each other full and frank disclosure of all documents relevant to their financial circumstances.

Parties will often instruct their solicitor to seek financial disclosure in an attempt to understand the nature and value of the asset pool.

The Court will often lack sympathy for a party who fails to comply with requests for the provision of financial disclosure.

If you do not comply with your duty to disclose, there are a number of consequences that may follow, such as:

  1. The court may refuse to grant you permission to rely upon information that you have not previously disclosed’
  2. The court may dismiss or stay all or part of your application
  3. The court may order costs against you in favour of your partner
  4. The court may order that you pay a fine or make a finding that you are guilty of contempt of court;
  5. The court may assign a value to the asset or liability in question to determine the value of the net asset pool (which could have the consequence of inaccurately valuing your asset/liability)

If both parties comply with their duty of disclosure it is more likely that the dispute will resolve without the need for litigation.  This is also likely to reduce legal fees and the stress that comes with litigation.

It is therefore important, when entering into negotiations for a division of property, and prior to any proceedings being commenced, to obtain independent legal advice about the documents that you are required to provide.  If you receive letters requesting that you provide financial disclosure or if you are experiencing difficulty in obtaining your own financial information then please contact one of our experienced Family Law solicitors for advice on 49292225.