Duty of Disclosure:  Why do I have to?

The duty of disclosure requires all parties to a family law dispute to provide to the other party all information relevant to an issue in the case.  This includes information recorded in a paper document or stored by some other means, such as a computer storage device, and also includes documents that the other parties may not know about.  This duty starts at the pre-action procedure before the case starts and continues until the case is finalised.

As a party to a family law proceeding, you must continue to provide such information as your circumstances change and more documents are created or come into your possession, power or control.

It is important to comply with the duty of disclosure.  As family lawyers, we will often ask our clients to provide to us documents and other information which reveal a great deal of personal information.  This information can help prove the assertions made by a party in their case.  For example, if one party asserts they contributed $100,000 towards a mortgage 3 years ago, a bank statement evidencing that payment is particularly good evidence to support the assertion made and makes it difficult for the other party to deny the payment.

Disclosure is a very important aspect of each family law matter and must not be underestimated or ignored.  There are cases decided by the Court where parties who fail to make adequate disclosure have an adverse inference drawn against them – that is, the Court can question whether a party has something to hide if they are not readily producing documents or complying with their duty of disclosure.

This blog should not be considered as legal advice.  If you would like to discuss disclosure, or any other family law related matter, we invite you to contact our family law team on (07) 5591 5099.