“I don’t want my ex to know anything about my finances”
When a couple separates both parties need to make decisions about their future without the other person in their life. During the relationship the couple will usually accumulate a number of assets and/or liabilities and need to decide who will get what.
If a couple is unable to come to an amicable agreement between them, they will usually ask a solicitor to help them work out their rights and entitlements when it comes to property settlement. The Family Law Act provides that a separated couple must provide each other all of their financial information – known as ‘financial disclosure’.
Sometimes parties do not want to disclose their financial information and will refuse to respond to requests by the other party or their solicitors. They might view the requests as overwhelming and just ignore them. This ‘head in the sand’ approach may prove to be more costly than expected particularly if the party requesting the documents commences proceedings in the Family Court.
This could mean a significant costs in legal fees to each party and could also mean that the person who has not provided financial disclosure may be ordered to pay the other party’s costs as a consequence of failure to disclose.
If a party continues to refuse to provide financial disclosure after proceedings have been commenced, then they may find that the Court may make presumptions about the values of assets and proceed on that basis. This means that the Court may make orders that may seem unfair including the sale of assets including the family home, shares in companies, superannuation splitting orders and any other orders that may affect the financial situation of the parties.
If you have been asked to provide your financial records to your ex, it is in your best interests to do so. If you are unsure as to exactly what you need to provide, you ought to obtain legal advice from an experienced family law practitioner.