Full and frank disclosure in Family Law matters

FULL & FRANK DISCLOSURE IN FAMILY LAW MATTERS

When it comes to Family Law matters whether they arise out of a marriage or defacto relationship there is a duty of disclosure that all parties must comply with.

The duty of disclosure requires all parties to provide to the Court and the other party all information that might be relevant to the proceedings.

WHAT EXACTLY NEEDS TO BE DISCLOSED?

The type of documents required to be produced will vary depending on whether parenting or financial issues (or both) are in dispute.

For matters related to property settlement, whether matrimonial or defacto, disclosure must be of a party’s total direct and indirect financial circumstances. This can include the provision of documents such as:

  • Income Tax Returns;
  • Statements from all bank accounts/ credit cards/ loan accounts whether held jointly or in your sole name;
  • Superannuation Statements;
  • Valuations of any real estate or motor vehicles;
  • Details of any investments including stocks and shares; and
  • Records of any life insurance policies.

For matters related to children’s issues, this might include documents such as:

  • Copies of the child’s school reports;
  • Copies of the Child’s School Attendance;
  • Medical reports about the child or parent;
  • Information related to specific Health Care costs;
  • Information related to Child Care fees;
  • Information related to School Fees or other educational expenses.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A PARTY DOES NOT PROVIDE FULL AND FRANK DISCLOSURE?

Chapter 13 of the Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth) states that each party to a case has a duty to the court and to each other party to give full and frank disclosure of all information relevant to a case and in a timely manner. The Rules require that full and frank disclosure should occur prior to the first court date, although in practice this is not always possible.

In the event that a party does not provide full and frank disclosure the court may impose various penalties including ordering the non-disclosing party to pay the other party’s costs or even punishment for contempt of court.

tony
tony@adelaidefamilylawyers.com.au