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Duty of Disclosure

Duty of Disclosure

Friday 6th of August 2021
By: Eliza Stanley,Solicitor,Coote Family Lawyers

Thank you for your ongoing support and professionalism through what has been a difficult 6 months.

What is the duty of disclosure?

In accordance with the Family Court’s pre-action procedures and rule 13.04 of Family Law Rules 2004, all parties to a family law dispute are required to make full and frank disclosure.  This means that a party must provide complete and honest records of all financial and other information through the provision of documents relevant to their matter.

When does it apply?

The duty of disclosure applies to all documents or information within your power, possession or control. Therefore, if you do not actually hold a copy of a relevant document but could source it from a third party, that document is in your power or control, and it must be requested and disclosed.

The duty of disclosure is an ongoing obligation which applies before the commencement and throughout the entirety of the parenting and/or property proceedings. Parties are required to continue to provide updates as circumstances change and progress.

What am I required to disclose?

In financial proceedings, you must make full and frank disclosure of your financial circumstances, including but not limited to your income, expenses, interest in property, financial resources, any interest in companies or trusts, any disposal of property and any liabilities.

What information and documents you are required to disclose will depend upon the individual circumstances of your case. However, typically, parties will be required to exchange the following documents:

(a)    Notices of Assessment;

(b)    Individual Tax Returns;

(c)     Bank statements for all personal accounts held in your name or jointly with any other person, including credit card statements;

(d)    Payslips;

(e)    Dividend statements for any shareholding;

(f)      Superannuation statements;

(g)    Documents in relation to any self-managed superannuation funds; and

(h)    Documents in relation to any companies, partnerships or trusts to which you hold an interest such deeds, financial statements and tax returns.

In parenting proceedings, particularly where there are allegations of risk, it might be relevant to provide documents evidencing medical or allied treatment, parenting or other courses.

Consequences of failing to provide full and frank disclosure

It is important that parties take this obligation seriously. Failure to provide full and frank disclosure can result in severe penalties, such as a stay or dismissal of proceedings, an adjustment in the property division, or even fines or imprisoned for contempt of Court.

How we can help

It is important that your disclosure obligations are handled correctly from the outset.  Whether your matter requires litigation, or can be resolved without the need for Court proceedings. For cost-effective and pragmatic advice, contact one of our team of top family lawyers on (03) 9804 0035.



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