If you are going through a separation or divorce it can be hard to know where to start. One of the first steps will be the exchange of financial information or “disclosure”, which is required pursuant to Family law legislation.
Exchange of financial disclosure ensures that both parties have knowledge of each others’ assets and debts and it is in both parties’ best interest to be cooperative and candid during this process. It is equally important to provide the necessary information in a timely manner, regardless of the other party’s actions.
What information do I have to provide?
In addition to current Income Tax Returns and Notices of Assessment, the following information will typically need to be shared with the other party and their counsel, if applicable, both as of the date of marriage (in the case of married parties) and the date of separation:
- opinions of value for any real property
- bank account and investment statements
- mortgage, line of credit, loan and credit card statements
- pension information
- vehicle values
- expenses related to children
What if I don’t want to provide this information?
There are occasions when parties may provide inaccurate or incomplete disclosure unintentionally, however intentional or not, there can be consequences. Failure to provide fulsome and accurate information could cause unnecessary delay and may lead to you incurring increased legal expenses. In exceptional cases, the Court may choose to strike the non-disclosing party’s pleadings or make a contempt and/or cost order against them.
If you resolve the issues arising from the breakdown of your relationship through negotiation and by entering into a Separation Agreement, a lack of (or incomplete) financial disclosure could compromise the strength of your agreement. By ensuring fulsome financial disclosure is exchanged, you reduce the risk that your agreement could be set aside down the road.
If you are experiencing a relationship breakdown and are unsure of what information you should disclose or seek from the other party, we’re here to help. Contact our Family Law team today.