Property Settlement Post-Separation or Divorce: What is Financial Disclosure?
Find out what financial disclosure obligations you need to meet when you're leaving or divorcing your partner and engaging in the property settlement process.
After divorce or separation, a property settlement is often required.
Our Nambour family law solicitors here at Butler McDermott Lawyers Sunshine Coast know this can be a stressful process, particularly when you are directed to provide financial disclosure. The purpose of this disclosure is to determine the value of the property pool that exists between you and your former partner so that it can be fairly evaluated and split.
Duty of disclosure
During the property settlement process, both you and your former partner have a legal duty to provide full and frank financial disclosure. This means that you must provide a complete picture as to your respective current financial positions. If a party fails to disclose relevant information and the matter ends up before the Family Law Court, there may be serious consequences, including:
- The Court may order the party in breach of their disclosure obligation to pay the other party’s legal costs, which could amount to tens of thousands of dollars;
- The party in breach may be barred from relying on an undisclosed document; and
- The Family Court could dismiss an application made by the party in breach.
If your matter is currently before the Court and you suspect that your former partner is withholding information, your family lawyers could ask the Court to order them to produce the missing documents to the Court. Alternatively, you could get your family lawyer to file a subpoena with the Court, compelling a third party to produce the missing documents.
What do I need to disclose?
Relevant information includes all assets and liabilities held separately and jointly, financial resources such as a trust of which you are a beneficiary, tax returns, payslips, evidence of any assets sold or disposed of near the end of the relationship, superannuation statements, bank statements, and documents relating to any inheritances. This list is not exhaustive; however, it provides an idea as to the breadth of information required during property settlement.
What time period is relevant?
A common misconception is that financial disclosure is only required to reflect the parties’ financial positions up until the end of the relationship. However, the disclosure should also reflect the parties’ current positions. Even if 18 months have passed since separation, you must include your most recent payslips and tax returns.
If you need assistance with a property settlement, the family lawyers in Sunshine Coast at Butler McDermott Lawyers Sunshine Coast are here to help. Contact our Nambour law firm today.
This article is not intended to provide legal advice in relation to your specific circumstances and should be used as a general guide only.