Financial DisclosureMost separations begin with each party obtaining legal representation or agreeing to attend an alternative dispute resolution process (ex. mediation) without lawyers.
Regardless of the path chosen, most cases begin with an exchange of financial information or “financial disclosure”. This is a key component to enabling proper family law settlements and/or Court resolutions.
A large part of the separation process is gathering financial information about each party to ensure that the process, and outcome, is fair. This is meant to provide an overall picture of income, real and personal property of the parties so that issues regarding support and division of assets and liabilities can be resolved. Decisions that affect your family’s future will be made based on the financial disclosure you provide and receive.
The Courts have held that parties involved in family law disputes have an obligation to provide full and honest information about their incomes and assets. The Supreme Court of Canada re-enforced the principle of full financial disclosure in family law matters in the 2009 case of Rick v. Brandsema, finding that parties have a duty to make full and honest disclosure of all their relevant financial information to ensure that negotiations between separating couples are free from “informational exploitation”. Failure to exchange full and complete financial disclosure may affect the validity and enforceability of any separation agreement reached between the parties.
Depending on the issues at play, different disclosure obligations arise. If you are making, or responding to, a claim for spousal or child support, you will typically be required to use the Form 13 Financial Statement. If you are making, or responding to, a claim for property division, you will typically be required to use the Form 13.1 Financial Statement. Both forms require some specific attachments to show your current income, and income for the last 3 most recent years. The difference between both forms is that Form 13.1 Financial Statement will require you to declare the values of any assets and liabilities held by you solely, or jointly with anyone else, as at the day of marriage (or cohabitation), the date of separation and the current date (the date on which you are preparing this document).
You must be as accurate as possible when providing figures on either document. Both documents must be sworn. There is no room for error. Once you’ve exchanged either a Form 13 or Form 13.1 Financial Statement, you will likely have to provide the other side with copies of all statements/evidence in support of the values listed by you within either document.
Many issues can arise at this stage. Some parties simply refuse to engage in this process. Some parties turn this process into a “witch-hunt”. Some parties will conveniently “forget” to include some assets. This is where we can help!
Here at Noori Law, we can assist you in producing, and receiving, financial disclosure that is necessary and relevant to the issues at hand. Contact us now!