The Importance of Financial Disclosure
Financial Disclosure & Separation Agreements in Ontario
If you and your spouse are separating and are seeking to resolve related issues, you might already have guessed that virtually everything (with the exception of child custody and access) will centre on money. Therefore, it is essential for all aspects of the separation process that each party has an accurate picture of the other’s finances, and in turn discloses their own finances.
In order to equalize net family property for married couples, both sides will have to show the value of all assets and liabilities at the date of separation, and the value of all assets and liabilities at the date of marriage. Therefore, it is essential that each spouse provide complete financial records for these two dates. Spouses must also provide documentation for any asset they think should be excluded from their date of separation assets, such as gifts or inheritances.
Child support is determined solely based on the payor’s income and number of children; here, financial disclosure as to annual income is essential. Any spousal support obligations will also be based on income.
If you are applying to the court to resolve your matter, the court will require detailed, accurate financial disclosure and you will have to swear to the accuracy of your financial statements. But even if you are hoping to settle your matter outside of court, you need to provide accurate and complete information.
You have an obligation to provide full financial disclosure to your spouse or your spouse’s lawyer upon request. In addition, if you negotiate a separation agreement with your spouse, but that agreement does not reflect your true financial situation, then your spouse can later apply to court to have your agreement set aside as a result of your non-disclosure.
Do not provide incomplete information and assume your spouse won’t find out about other assets or income sources. The money you are hoping to save could potentially be spent threefold on legal fees later, or on retroactive payments. If your matter is before the court, you may also end up with a costs award against you.
An Ontario Separation Lawyer Can Help
It is not always clear to parties what exactly should be counted as an asset, how to accurately determine income, and what merits disclosure. If you have concerns in this area, a family law lawyer is your best resource, as are third party professionals who can help you determine the value of various assets, such as a business, stock options, or a home.
Often, parties provide inaccurate or incomplete financial disclosure unintentionally; but, whether intentional or not, such inaccurate information will prolong and complicate your family law matter. The accurate and quick resolution of your issues depends on the accuracy of the financial information you give at the outset.
Put a skilled team of lawyers on your side when it comes to separation and financial disclosure. Call Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. at (905) 581-7222 today.