Each party in a Family Law proceeding has a duty to provide full and frank disclosure of any relevant documents. However, it is, unfortunately, a common concern of our clients that their former spouse is hiding assets. If you are currently going through a divorce and worried about the effect of this on your proceedings, our Family Lawyers have the following advice.

What is full and frank disclosure?

Full and frank disclosure is a duty upon both parties to provide relevant documents or copies of documents to the other party. These documents must be provided in a timely manner. It is is ongoing throughout your matter. Meaning if you acquire a new asset or open a new bank account you will need to provide this information to the other party.

What documents are required?

You will be required to provide copies of the following documents, if relevant to your matter and circumstances:  Firstly, Certificates of Title for any properties;Secondly, settlement statements for any sale or purchase of properties;Thirdly, various valuation or appraisal documents;Fourthly, bank statements for all bank accounts;Fifthly, three payslips;Sixthly, three Tax Returns and three Notice of Assessments;Seventhly, superannuation statements for the last three years;Eighthly, any trust, company or partnership documents that you have an interest in; andFinally, any other documents that may be relevant.  How do you know if a document is relevant? Disclosure is not necessarily to the other side but also to your solicitors. You will need to openly disclose any relevant information to your solicitor. They can then assist you in understanding whether a document is relevant or not.

What if I don't want to disclose a document?

There can be significant consequences for parties who do not comply with their duty of disclosure. The Court may:  Firstly, make an adverse cost order against you;Secondly, grant a stay or dismissal of your matter;Thirdly, strike out parts or the whole of your application and allow the matter to proceed on an undefended basis;Fourthly, set aside any orders made or financial agreements; orFinally, fine or imprison you, if you are found within contempt of the Court.

When do I have to disclose?

Whilst the duty of full and frank disclosure is ongoing throughout the entirety of your matter, disclosure generally occurs within the ‘pre-action’ stage of your matter. This generally occurs within the first few weeks of your matter. This is so that both parties can be informed and try and come to an agreement without going to Court.  At New South Lawyers, we will provide you with a list of required documents for disclosure and assist with any questions. Please call 02 9891 6388 for further information about your duty of disclosure or to book an initial consultation with our friendly and knowledgeable Family Law team.  New South Lawyers’ communications are intended to provide commentary and general information and not relied upon as legal advice. Seek formal legal advice in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication.

To find out more, chat with a member of New South Lawyers' Family Law Team today.