Are you looking for help with financial disclosure? Failure to provide financial disclosure can be costly. Every spouse has a constructive responsibility to provide all relevant financial information to the other party.
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Legal issues between spouses in Toronto, Ontario can be complicated. The Ontario Court of Appeal emphasized that the most fundamental requirement of family law is the disclosure of financial information.
Failure to comply with this basic principle hinders advancement in the court case. Further, it causes unnecessary delays and acts to the detriment of the other party. It also affects the judicial process where needless judicial time is spent on matters that should be readily settled by the parties. In the end, the judicial review of the case has stopped.
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Family Law Financial Disclosure
Top family lawyers often suggest starting with a prenuptial agreement between spouses. This can also work for common-law couples. These domestic agreements normally start at $1100. Sometimes when a separation agreement fails, you need to push things further. If this happens, your lawyer can fight for your rights in courts.
A common question we get asked is if it is mandatory to disclose all assets and financial information during a separation. Couples in a common-law relationship in Ontario do not have the same property rights enjoyed by married couples.
However, couples in a common-law relationship in British Columbia have similar rights as couples in a traditional marriage. Read on to learn the important things to know about the failure to provide financial disclosure in Ontario.
Also, below is a family law video from the USA, but the content is still helpful for people in Ontario.
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The Court of Appeal claimed that “financial disclosure is automatic“. They argued that the power to interrupt pleadings should be used sparingly and only in exceptional cases.
Financial Disclosure In The Courts
Further, family lawyers are exposed to family litigation cases with a lot of distrust between spouses. Frequently, the partners accuse the other of stealing money or assets to keep for themselves. This is untrue for the vast majority of the time. Therefore, don’t make random comments about your spouse unless you can back it up with evidence.
A 55-year-old businessman reported recently in a story by Ottawa Citizen stating that he burned $1m cash to keep it from his ex-wife. Bruce McConville is a family law litigant. He refused to provide the court with financial disclosure as required by law.
In the absence of the necessary financial disclosure, the court was unable to ascertain what Mr. McConville’s compensation was. Further, they couldn’t tell what he owed in terms of child support and spousal support. Also, he didn’t pay either child support or spousal support.
The Judge can order financial disclosure. You will likely have to pay the other side’s legal costs.
The Court ordered Mr. McConville to reveal his financial information and to prohibit him from withdrawing himself from any marital assets held solely in his name. In serious violation of these orders, Mr. McConville reportedly sold shares and assets without informing his wife.
Once asked by the court as to where the money went from the sale, he claimed that he had withdrawn the proceeds from the sale in cash and had burned the proceeds in two bonfires in the fall of 2019. The total amount allegedly burned by Mr. McConville was more than $1,000,000.
Certificate Of Financial Disclosure
Justice, Kevin Phillips, Ontario Superior Court did not believe that Mr. McConville had wasted $1,000,000 in cash and sentenced him to 30 days in jail for breaching court orders. Justice Phillips also ordered a fine of $2,000 a day for every day Mr. McConville continued to fail to provide financial disclosure.
Learn more about family law: What is financial disclosure in divorce?
This tough stance on failure to provide financial disclosure might set precedents across Canada. In British Columbia, the Family Law Act requires the court to take disciplinary action. Therefore, this can happen against those who do not make proper financial disclosure.
Rule 21-7 of the Family Rules of the Supreme Court also requires the Court to punish contempt for a court. Further, that can be done by way of imprisonment or a fine.
The case law in British Columbia is not often not as dramatic as the case of Mr. McConville. The non-disclosure is treated seriously by the BC judiciary. As the judge said ‘ non-disclosure of assets is the cancer of matrimonial property proceedings.‘ Further, the court will not hold back in the exercise of its powers.
Spouses not only have to worry that their ex-partner is hiding assets from them. They also have to worry their spouse is burning the equity in the properties by taking on debt.
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Disclose or encounter an upset judge! The court does not support the parties if they do not have full and complete financial disclosure. Every party has a constructive responsibility to provide all relevant financial information to the other party.
There may be major and costly consequences if this basic rule is not followed. See this video on financial disclosure in relationships. Also, disclosure can be costly, so get legal advice from a lawyer!
It’s important to be fair when asking for financial disclosure. One party can not go on a “wild goose chase” to find information that is meaningless. Further, they can’t ask for things without having proof it exists. All financial documents relating to the calculation of the net family property or income of the parties may be requested. Further, once requested they must be produced by the other side.
Disclosure can be costly and complex so you should speak to a lawyer. You can find it at the bottom right of the screen and you can also call us.
What is the financial statement form?
Financial disclosure and document production is the information each party must provide to the other party. This is done to support claims for child support, spousal support, property, or exclusive possession of the matrimonial home.
It includes both the financial statement that both parties are required to file and any documents needed to verify the values written.
Reach out to one of our family lawyers by filling out the form on this page.
When is financial disclosure required?
If a party is making a claim for support, property, or exclusive possession of a matrimonial home they must file a financial statement. This goes with their application and the other party will also be expected to file a financial statement in their response material. However, there is an exception in relation to child support.
If the only claim for base child support is in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines Table, the party making a claim does not need to file a financial statement.
Before a motion for child support, the parties need to file updated financial statements to show their current income. They can also sign an affidavit that their income and expenses have stayed the same.
When do documents need to be exchanged?
There needs to be supporting documentation to substantiate the values listed on the financials. This must be provided to the opposing party within 30 days of the financial statement being filed. However, disclosure doesn’t stop there. Both parties have an ongoing obligation to provide disclosure.
So, is a piece of disclosure not available in the first 30 days? Further, does the information become known after 30 days? Then the party who holds the document is still required to disclose it to the other party. In addition, did the financial situation change? Then that party is required to update the other party. Also, they must also provide supporting documentation.
What happens if one party doesn’t provide disclosure?
Do you believe the other party’s financial statement does not contain enough information? Is a party is refusing to provide supporting documentation? A lawyer can submit to the court to get an order that requires the opposing party to provide it.
Further, did the other party does not provide it within seven days? Then the party seeking disclosure can apply to the court for an order. This will be a court order that the other party must provide the documentation.
Author: Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law