What is Duty of Disclosure?
All parties to a Family Law dispute must provide to each other party all information relevant to an issue in the case.
This includes information recorded in a paper document or stored by some other means such as a computer storage device and also includes documents that the other parties may not know about. This duty starts with the pre-action procedure before the case starts and continues until the case is finalised.
As a party, you must continue to provide such information as circumstances change or more documents are created or come into your possession, power or control.
Pre-action procedures are where you attempt to resolve a dispute outside of court. Pre-action procedures must be completed before you can take your matter to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.
When it comes to finance and property, one of these pre-action procedures is the duty of disclosure. This means that you and your former partner have a duty to the court and each other to give all information and documents relevant to the case.
Our Family Law lawyers in Melbourne can assist you in resolving issues more quickly and fairly, and avoid taking matters to court which adds to your stress and financial strain. It also brings everything out in the open so that decisions can be made on facts and evidence.
If a party does not disclose all information relevant to the issues presented, there are serious consequences including punishment for contempt of court.
Information that must be disclosed in a property settlement includes tax returns/assessments, superannuation statements, BAS statements, financial statements, trust deeds etc.
This applies whether the property, financial resources and earnings are owned by or come to the party directly, or go to some other person or beneficiary (for example, the party’s child or de facto partner) or are held in corporations, trusts, company or other such structures.
Also required to be disclosed is 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.
Our Family Law lawyers in Melbourne can represent you in pre-action procedures related to finance and property related to separation and divorce and will advise you based on your individual circumstances.
What is Duty of Disclosure in financial cases?
In financial matters, disclosure relates to a party’s direct and indirect financial circumstances. This means they must continue to provide tax returns as they are completed, or provide new financial information if their circumstances change.
The most common form of disclosure in Family Law matters is financial disclosure and disclosure of financial circumstances. This is also referred to as “full and frank financial disclosure”. As part of the court’s pre-action procedures, all parties to a family law case must provide to each other all relevant documentation to an issue in the case.