Disclosure

It is important to be aware of your responsibilities in family law matters

What is Disclosure

All parties to a family law matter have a duty to provide full and frank disclosure. This means that you must provide to the other party all relevant information to your case.

What is deemed to be relevant information can vary from case to case, but often includes:

  • List of all bank, credit union & building society accounts, details of account numbers, passbooks and bank statements for the last 12 months
  • Details and records of any investments including stocks and shares
  • Income Tax Returns and assessments for previous 3 financial years
  • Social security pension or payment details
  • Details of long service leave accrued
  • Details of overtime worked
  • Superannuation documentation
  • Valuation of real estate
  • Valuation of chattels including cars
  • Details of any life assurance or disability insurance
  • Medical or psychiatric reports.

Ongoing Obligation

Disclosure is an ongoing obligation, beginning before the case starts and continuing until it is finalised. Parties to a case must provide updated disclosure throughout the case and notify the other party if there is a change in their circumstances.

Failing to Disclose

There are penalties for failing to disclose information or documents during a family law matter. The Court may:

  • Refuse to allow you to use that information or documents as evidence in your case
  • Stay or dismiss all or part of your case
  • Order costs against you
  • Find you guilty of contempt of court.

It is important to be aware of your ongoing disclosure obligations and to discharge your duty in a timely manner.

Subpoenas

If you are a party to the family law court proceedings where the other party has not provided full and frank disclosure, there are a number of options available to you:

  • Often disclosure is ordered at the first court date
  • You can write to the other party and request general disclosure or specific disclosure
  • If the other party is not forthcoming with their documents and there is no court order, you can make an application to the court for disclosure
  • If there is a court order and the other party is not forthcoming with their disclosure, then you can file a contravention application to the court

Depending on the nature of the document or information sought you may also have the option of issuing a subpoena.