If you are experiencing a financial settlement or property settlement at the end of your relationship, chances are may have heard this fancy word “disclosure”.
Disclosure is a legal word and what it really refers to is the exchange of important information between you and your former partner to enable the two of you to make informed decisions about how to resolve any dispute.
There are two types of disclosure, disclosure in property matters and disclosure in parenting matters.
Today will talk about disclosure in property matters.
So when a family lawyer is asking you to make financial disclosure, whether that is your own lawyer or you have received a letter from your partner’s lawyer, what we’re really talking about is for you to gather together all the documents that you either have or can get, that relate to the property and debts that you have and how they were acquired.
This is essential to enable you and your partner to make decisions about how to divide your assets and for your lawyer to be able to give you advice as to likely outcomes should you and your partner not be able to come to an agreement and the judge has to decide.
So, common documents that people usually need to gather together as part of this process are things like:
- bank account statements
- tax returns
- credit card statements
- superannuation statements
- any document that shows the sale or transfer of an asset
- evidence of any shares that you own
- and all those sorts of things.
There might also be other historical documents that are important. If you have purchased a property or came into your relationship with the property or another major asset, the documentation you have about that is really important and relevant.
If you received an inheritance or gift from family, then any document that shows how much was received, and when is also very important to have.
Clients often seem to get very confused about this idea of ‘disclosure’ and feel very threatened when they receive a letter from their partners lawyer requesting it.
Don’t be confused and don’t get stressed about it. Think of it as if you are going to see your bank manager to apply for a loan and bringing with you a list of your assets and liabilities together with the documents in support of your application.
This process is very similar.
So when we talk to you about financial disclosure, what we are asking you to do is to gather together all of these documents to support the information you are giving us about your assets and how they were acquired, so as to help us ultimately advise you and importantly to provide proof of what you say which all goes to help you and your former partner come to an agreement more quickly and with much less stress and animosity.