DO I HAVE TO DISCLOSE MY FINANCIAL CIRCUMSTANCES?

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FAMILY LAW – FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

Parties to financial family law cases have an ongoing duty to disclose the material facts relating to their financial position.
This is set out by rule 13.04 of the Family Law Rules, which says that a party to financial proceedings needs to make full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances.

For proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, there is a similar provision found in Rule 24.03 of The Federal Circuit Court Rules, which provides that a party to financial proceedings must file a financial statement or affidavit of financial circumstances providing full and frank disclosure of that party’s financial circumstances.

What you need to disclose in relation to your finances?

These rules mean that you will need to disclose any information relevant to your financial position including:

  • any interest you have in any property;
  • any income you receive from your employment or business interests;
  • any interest in a trust, as an appointor, trustee or beneficiary or if you are a shareholder or director of a corporation which is the beneficiary of a trust
  • any interest in a corporation;
  • any gift you have made or property you have disposed of since separation;
  • any financial resources eg interest in a deceased estate, interest in a family trust as a discretionary beneficiary, entitlement to a pension.
  • Consequences if you do not disclose

There are consequences to parties in the event they fail to provide disclosure or they provide false undertakings that they have made full and frank disclosure when in fact they have not or they have provided deceiving information to the court.

At first instance when a party fails to make disclosure the court can make an order expressly ordering them to make specific disclosure. If they fail to comply with that order then the court can stay or dismiss the proceedings, order a cost order against that party, fine that party or imprison that party if they are found to be guilty of contempt of court for non-disclosure or breaching any undertaking.

If a party makes disclosure of false information then the court can later refuse to allow that information or document into evidence in the matter at trial.

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