Everything You Need To Know About Full And Frank Disclosure In Family Law

Full And Frank Disclosure
11 Sep

Everything You Need To Know About Full And Frank Disclosure In Family Law

In Family Law property or parenting proceedings, the parties have a responsibility to provide full and frank disclosure.  The Duty of full and frank disclosure is a requirement for all parties involved in a family law dispute to provide to each other party all information relevant to an issue in the case.  

Full and frank disclosure in property matters

In addition to general disclosure requirements, there are specific requirements and rules about full and frank disclosure in property matters. The information disclosed must be relevant to the party’s total direct and indirect financial circumstances. This requires disclosing all sources of earnings, income, property, and other financial resources.  This is also applied in situations where the property, financial resources, and earnings are owned by or come to the party directly, or go to some other person or beneficiary (for example, the party’s child or de facto partner) or are held in corporations, trusts, company or other such structures.  There is also a requirement for full and frank disclosure to be made in relation to information about any property disposal (whether that be by sale, transfer, assignment, or gift) which was made in the year directly before the parties separation, occurred since the final separation or at some other significant time.  

To get started, please see below for a brief summary of documents which are required to be disclosed: 

  1. Three most recent taxation returns and assessments.
  2. Three most recent wage/salary certificates.
  3. Any superannuation documents for each superannuation interest of the party including:
  • The most recent superannuation statement (if available);
  • For a self-managed superannuation fund, the trust deed, and the last three financial statements.
  1. For a corporation (business), trust or partnership;
  • Financial statements for each (including balance sheets, profit and loss accounts, depreciation schedules, and taxation returns) for the three last financial years.
  1. For the party or a corporation (business), trust or partnership:
  • Any Business Activity Statement for the 12 months ending immediately before the first Court date.
  1. For any corporation, its most recent annual return, listing Directors and Shareholders; and the corporation’s memorandum and articles of association.
  2. For any Trust, the trust deed.
  3. For any Partnership, the partnership agreement.
  4. All documents containing evidence about:
  • The financial contributions made at the commencement of cohabitation.
  • Any inheritances, gifts or compensation payments received during cohabitation.
  • Any purchase or disposal of property in the 12 months prior to and since separation.
  • Any increase or reduction of liabilities since separation.
  • The value of any superannuation interest of a party, including the basis on which the value has been calculated and any documents used to calculate the value.
  1. Such documents shall include but not limited to:
  • List of all Bank accounts, details of account numbers, passbook and Bank statements for the previous 12 months.
  • Details of Credit Union/Building Society or other like deposit passbooks and statements for the previous 12 months.
  • Details and records of any investments including stocks and shares.
  • Appraisal/valuation of real estate.
  • Appraisal/valuation of chattels including car(s).
  • Social Security pension or payment details.
  • Details/records of long service leave accrued.
  • Details/records of overtime worked in the previous 12 months.
  • Records/details of any life assurance or disability insurance.
  • Details /records of any of the above re children.
  • Medical or psychiatric reports

Full and frank disclosure in parenting matters

In accordance to rule 13.01 of the Family Law Rules 2004, it is a requirement for the parties to make full and frank disclosure of all information relevant to a parenting matter throughout the duration of the matter.  The appropriate documents which are required to be disclosed will be case-specific. An example may include medical reports about a child or parent, school reports, letters, and drawings by the child, photographs, or perhaps a diary.

To read more about your full obligations of duty to the disclosure please check Chapter 13 of the Family Law Rules 2004 (external link). 

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