All parties to a family law dispute must provide each other party all information relevant to an issue in the case. This is known as the duty of disclosure.
The duty of disclosure requires that each party, from the pre-action stage when proceedings have not commenced right up until the case is finalised, provide all documents in their possession and/or control to the other even if the other party is not aware of its existence.
Upon disclosure being exchanged, the parties are able to enter into productive negotiations to finalise their family matter.
In financial cases full and frank disclosure means you provide the following documents:
- Personal and Business Income tax returns, assessments and financial statements;
- Rate notices in relation to all properties held;
- Copies of bank statements for all savings, cheques, pass books or other accounts held by the party either solely or jointly with another person;
- Registration certificates for all motor vehicles, boats, caravans, trailer, etc owned solely or jointly with another person;
- Valuations/appraisals of any assets;
- The most recent loan documents with respect to any of the assets of the relationship;
- Copies of any insurance policies and superannuation accounts held; and
- Any and all documents relating to any assets disposed of since separation.
In parenting cases full and frank disclosure means you provide the following documents:
- Medical reports about a child or parent;
- School reports;
- Letters and drawings by the child;
- A diary; and
- Any other document relating to an issue of the case.
Disclosure is vital in family law and a party’s failure to comply can result in the Court imposing the following penalties:
- Refuse to allow you to use information or evidence in your case;
- Stay or dismiss all or part of your case;
- Order costs against you; and
- Fine you or imprison you on being found guilty of contempt of Court.