It’s an understandably difficult time when a marriage breaks down; both, emotionally and financially. However, in order to move forward in an expeditious and efficient manner, it is vital to follow the legal requirements of disclosure.
When to Provide Financial Disclosure
There is a positive obligation on both parties to provide sufficient financial disclosure and to swear to its accuracy in a variety of situations. For example, when you are working on a separation agreement or divorce proceedings have begun, claims for child support or spousal support require the disclosure of financial information. If the court is reviewing or varying a support order, you will also be required to provide financial disclosure. Moreover, where a party applies for the division of assets you must provide financial disclosure.
How to Provide Financial Disclosure
You will need to complete an F8 Financial Statement form together with any required additional information regarding business interests. If your disclosure is insufficient, your spouse can demand particulars, which must be provided within 7 days of the demand or your spouse can obtain a court order for disclosure.
What Happens if You Fail to Provide Disclosure?
Oftentimes, one or both parties may hide or undervalue assets. The court can order you to provide accurate disclosure. Additionally, the application for disclosure may result in an order that you pay up to $5,000.00 as a penalty for failing to disclose. You may also be ordered to pay the costs of the application.
Failing to provide disclosure can result in a number of serious consequences. For example, the court could determine that you hid assets or that you are willfully unemployed, and the judge may dismiss all or part of your claim. The court can also punish you for contempt of court through a fine or order of committal. Moreover, the court can attribute Guideline income to you since you failed to provide accurate information. You would then pay support based on the imputed income.
In J.D.S v D.Y.C.P, 2014 BCSC 1577, the Respondent failed to disclose the required financial information with certainty including circumstances regarding the end of his employment. His Tax Notices of Assessment for the four years prior to the divorce proceedings showed an income greater than $92,000. However, in his Form 8 disclosure form, he stated his annual income was only $89,000. The court found it was fair to impute the Respondent’s income at $90,000 for the purpose of making support payments. The Respondent was also ordered to pay 75% of the children’s extraordinary expenses.
Another more recent example of court sanctions for failure to disclose financial information is Street v Street, 2017 BCSC 981 (CanLII). In this case, a spouse failed to provide updated financial information, ignoring the opposing counsel’s request. The court further found that she was further intentionally unemployed, failed to produce relevant evidence about her past and present financial circumstances in a timely manner, actively misrepresented her income and filed false evidence, causing the Claimant unnecessary hardship. The court found that her conduct warranted a dismissal of her claims for retroactive spousal support.
How Valerie M. Little Law Corporation Can Help You
There is certainly a wide range of consequences for failing to provide disclosure. Valerie M. Little, family lawyer in Coquitlam and Burnaby, can advise you on what needs to be provided and when to ensure that you do not breach this obligation. If you feel that the other party may be hiding assets/accounts or may have failed to provide updated financial information, Valerie M. Little can advise you on the next steps and represent you to ensure your spouse is providing adequate financial disclosure. Do not settle for less when you deserve to be supported based on the true income of your spouse.
The provision of financial disclosure can be a complex area of law which may require some research and investigation. Let a divorce lawyer in Coquitlam or Burnaby at our law firm take care of your legal interests and the fine details. Call us today at 604-526-3333 to set up your consultation with a family lawyer.