Financial Disclosure

The Disclosure Process

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.

What Disclosure is Required?

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.

Tax Documents

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:

  1. Last three years’ income tax returns
  2. Last three years’ notices of assessment
  3. Most recent pay stub or equivalent
Documents Relating to Assets and Debts

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:

  1. Bank Statements
  2. RRSP Statements
  3. TFSA Statements
  4. Pension Valuation for Family Law (Financial Services Commission of Ontario Form 4 (see a sample here) available from your pension plan administrator for a fee)
  5. Credit Card Statements
  6. Line of Credit Statements
  7. Mortgage statements
  8. Other documents supporting property value or debt obligations
  9. Any other documents supporting assets and liabilities at the relevant dates
Documents for Self-Employed Individuals

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):

  1. Bank Statements
  2. Credit card statements
  3. Other statements setting out the source of funds used to pay expenses
Documents for Shareholders in Privately Held Corporations

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:

  1. T1 Corporate income tax returns
  2. Corporate bank statements
  3. Financial statements of the corporation
  4. Other corporate documents showing the individual’s role and/or shareholdings in the corporation, as well as its earnings and dividend rights (for example articles of incorporation and/or shareholders’ register)

A Lawyer Can Help You with Financial Disclosure

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.