Each party to a family law dispute is required to provide to each other party all information relevant to an issue in the case.
This includes written documentation as well as information stored by some other means, for example on a computer. It is a continuing obligation, until the case is finalised and must be updated as circumstances change or new information becomes available.
All documents relating to a party’s assets, liabilities, income and expenses must be disclosed to the other party. Failure to do so might result in the other party having to take out a subpoena to obtain the information with the non- compliant party having to pay the other’s costs of the application. The information may be excluded by the judge who may draw adverse inferences from the failure or, in some situations, there may be punishment for contempt of court.
It is a good idea to begin collecting the relevant documents, such as taxation returns for the 3 years prior to separation, wage advices, any trust deeds, partnership agreements and superannuation statements as soon as possible. Put them in a folder so they are easily retrieved and referred to. They should be made available to the other party to view, upon request and copy, at their expense. Disregarding the requirement for full disclosure can prolong the finalisation of the case and, in turn, increase each party’s legal costs.