Divorce and separation are never easy and at Hayes-Fry Law, our goal is to work with you to ease your mind by ensuring that you understand all of your options and each of the steps along the way. Having said that, whether your matter is being handled inside or outside of the court room, one of the consistent features of any family law proceeding is the request for financial disclosure.
What is disclosure?
The short answer is: your personal and corporate financials. The longer answer is that the disclosure process provides each party the ability to obtain evidence and information from the other1. In doing so, they are each better equipped to understand the issues at hand and evaluate their respective positions1.
In Alberta, the family law disclosure requirements are outlined in s. 65(1) of the Family Law Act. This provision states that upon the written request of one of the parties, the other party, is required to provide the requesting party with the applicable financial information as laid out in the appropriate regulation2. In family law specifically, the disclosure obligation is financial and will form the foundation for all support calculations; for example, child support, spousal support or adult interdependent partner support.
What does this mean for you?
Disclosure is required for a few reasons. You may have been served with a Notice to Disclose or perhaps you have filed an application for child support3. Your lawyer will help ensure that you understand the circumstances and requirements associated with your disclosure. In either case, you will have 30 days upon being served to provide the necessary documents4. Some of the items you will be asked to provide include5:
- Personal and Corporate income tax returns (most recent 3 years)
- Notice of Assessment/Reassessment (most recent 3 years)
- Three most recent pay statements, if you are an employee (other requirements exist for individuals who are self-employed).
- Banking and/or credit card statements (most recent 6 months).
- Statement of income from other sources (example, pension, EI or social assistance)
What happens if you don’t provide disclosure?
The Family Law Act gives the courts three options for handling a situation in which one of the
parties fail to provide the requested financial disclosure6:
- The courts can decide to move forward with the application and impute an income to the individual. This imputed number is often much higher than the individual’s actual income.
- Courts can order that the request be complied with.
- Courts can order a business partner or employer to provide the necessary information based on their knowledge and/or the information available to them.
If after that, the party still fails to provide disclosure, the courts can do any or all of the following7:
- Dismiss any applications brought by that party.
- Issue a contempt order against them.
- Move forward and impute an income on their behalf.
- Award the other party costs to cover the entire proceeding.
In addition to the above, failing to provide or delaying disclosure will draw out a family law proceeding and result in unnecessary costs to both parties involved. Providing timely and accurate disclosure will ensure your matter moves along efficiently and can be a big part of reducing your overall costs.
If you’re looking to retain a family lawyer, or wanting to understand your options, Hayes Fry Law has you covered. Give our office a call today at 780.831.7370 or email reception@HayesFryLaw.ca and we’d be happy to set you up for a consultation with one of our Family lawyers.
1. Alberta Rules of Court, Alta Reg 124/2010, Part 5, Rule 5. 1(1). 2. Family Law Act, SA 2003, C F-4.5, s. 65(1).
3. Disclosure Statement Package, RCA 11252 Rev. 2016-08.
4. RCA 11252 Rev. 2016-08. Also, Alta Reg 124/2010, Schedule A, Division 2, Form FL-17.
5. Alta Reg 124/2010, Schedule A, Division 2, Form FL-17.
6. Family Law Act, SA 2003, C F-4.5, s. 65(2)(a-c).
7. Family Law Act, SA 2003, C F-4.5, s. 65(3)(a-d)