When dealing with a property settlement one of the first things your lawyer will ask you to do is compile your financial disclosure. So, what is it, and why is it important?
The most obvious answer is your financial disclosure is everything related to your current financial position. Think bank statements, tax returns and payslips. The reason this is important is so we can properly assess your assets and liabilities and determine the matrimonial property pool, and what your entitlements are.
What are Financial Disclosure Requirements?
The FCFCOA has several rules and regulations that guide parties. The first step in any property settlement is for the parties to make this disclosure to each other. It is important in making sure the parties know the full extent of each other’s financial position.
Furthermore, each party has an ongoing obligation to disclose. That means that parties agree to keep each other updated as their matter progresses. If a party fails to properly disclose, a Court can intervene and impose orders requiring their disclosure, and in some cases a party can face serious consequences for failing to comply with Court orders.
What Financial Documents Are Required?
- Last three individual Tax Returns
- Last three Notices of Assessment
- Evidence of current wages, e.g. payslip
- Last three superannuation statements for all superannuation funds
- If self-managed super fund, financial statements for last three years
- Evidence of shareholdings currently held in public companies
- If director of a company, last three financial statements/tax returns for company
- If owner of a business, last three financial statements/tax returns for business
- Bank statements for all personal and business accounts held for last three financial years
- Current market appraisal of any real estate which is owned
- Details of any vehicles, boats, caravans, etc. that are owned
- Details of any life insurance policies
- Any other documents relevant to your financial position
What If I Don’t Disclose Something?
If you fail to disclose something, there can be serious impacts on you. The Court may refuse to allow you to use that information or document as evidence in your case; stay or dismiss all or part of your case; order costs against you; and in extreme circumstances can even fine you or imprison you on being found guilty of contempt of court for not disclosing the document or for breaching your undertaking.
At the end of the day, it’s in your best interest to be transparent & honest with your financial disclosure to get the best possible outcome. If you have any questions about disclosure, please make an appointment with one of our experienced family lawyers Bowen.