Duty of disclosure
Do I really need to give her that?
In order to achieve an outcome that is just and equitable or in the best interests of the child, both parties are obligated in their family law proceedings to comply with a duty of disclosure.
Whilst there are different obligations between property and parenting matters, the underlying principle that runs between both is an ongoing duty and requirement that the parties provide all documents that are relevant to their dispute in a timely manner.
Yes, this does include information that the other party may not be aware of.
Dependent upon your issues, some examples of the documents that you may need to provide may include (but are not limited to the following):
- School Reports;
- Medical Reports;
- Pay slips;
- Copies of financial statements and tax returns;
- Bank statements;
- Information related to any other financial resources; and
- Documents outlining any liabilities.
Yes, there are some documents that are exempt from the obligation of disclosure, however the exemption only relates to a limited class of documents. These include documents that remain unchanged and have already been disclosed or documents in which there is a claim for privilege over.
To ensure that you get it right, it is crucial to follow the advice of your solicitor.
In circumstances where a party deliberately fails or refuses to disclose relevant facts and information regarding their case, not only can a lawyer cease to act for the client but the Court can impose a number of penalties.
If a Court does find that a party has deliberately failed to meet their obligations of disclosure, it can after considering the effect of the non-disclosure, make an adjustment in favour of the other party or ascribe a value for that non-disclosed asset or interest.
Should a parties deliberate failure to disclose documents unduly lengthen the proceedings and create an additional burden of costs on the other party, the Court may consider whether a costs order is appropriate in the circumstances.
The duty to make full and frank disclosure is a continuing obligation on both parties and one that is crucial to reaching a just and equitable outcome for your matter.