Rule 13 of the Family Law Rules for Ontario, section 21 of the Child Support Guidelines, as well as various court rulings, make financial disclosure mandatory in family law cases. For this reason, full financial disclosure should happen at an early stage, preferably by agreement.
Because of its importance, our firm immediately begins working with clients to produce the disclosure that satisfies their obligation. Even if a case does not go to court, financial disclosure provides the foundation for a potential separation agreement between the parties.
For all these reasons, financial disclosure requires care and attention. Perhaps more importantly, a court may decline to enforce an agreement made without financial disclosure.
Notwithstanding the clear-cut disclosure obligation, a party may resist providing disclosure requested. For example, the lawyers in a case may disagree about the relevance or control of corporate documents. While valid reasons exist to decline certain disclosure requests the basic obligation remains clear. As a result, the refusal of disclosure could suggest an attempt to shield assets from division, to conceal income, or perhaps some other purpose.
If there are financial issues of any kind involved in your case, you will need documents to confirm the figures involved. These documents will ensure greater accuracy and transparency in the outcome. Below is a non-exhaustive list of the basic financial disclosure documents required in a typical family law case.
The family law process requires parties to make disclosure to confirm their income. This type of disclosure obligation arises in any family law case involving support obligations. In such cases, the basic documents required to get started include:
In cases involving property division, require disclosure of account statements to determine how much net worth increased or decreased. Therefore, the dates of the statements required include (i) the Marriage/Cohabitation date (ii) the Separation date and (iii) Today’s date. This part of financial disclosure deals with the following types of accounts:
In cases involving support and self-employed individuals require the following documents for all dates ranging over the last three years (or perhaps further if support obligations go beyond three years):
For cases involving individuals who hold shares in privately held corporations, the following materials are also required for years in which support is payable, and/or if the division of the corporation is at issue:
The items listed on this page provide a general overview of financial disclosure in family law, including the documents typically required. The list is not exhaustive, and your particular scenario may require disclosure of documents outside the situation set out above. Contact us for help seeking or providing financial disclosure.