(02) 9523 3007

Failure to disclose in Family Law

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 3.49.30 pmThe very first task in any Family Law property dispute is to establish what is the pool of assets available for division.

A fear is often expressed by one party to a marriage that the other will not make a full disclosure of the assets.

That party will be assured that their spouse has an obligation to make a full disclosure.

However, some parties do not want to make a full disclosure of assets.  The experienced Family Law Specialist will tell that client about the consequences of not making a full disclosure.

Brendon and Bianca had been married for approximately 10 years.  Brendon inherited  $4 million.  Bianca was aware of the existence of $4 million in investments. After the breakdown of the marriage, and three years before the matter went before the Court for determination, the $4 million disappeared.

Bianca’s Family Law Specialist made specific enquiries from Brendon’s Solicitor as to where the money had disappeared. The only information given to Bianca and her Family Law Specialist was the money had been invested overseas and no longer existed as a result of a downturn in the market.

Right up to the hearing of the matter Brendon offered no explanation as to what happened to the $4 million.  He produced no evidence.  He said the pool of assets consisted of a house at Caringbah valued at $1.8 million with a mortgage of $1 million.  He said there were no other assets whatsoever.

Bianca sought Orders that she receive the house at Caringbah and also an amount of $1 million which would enable her to pay out the mortgage debt.

Maybe Brendon did have the money.  The Court thought so.  The Court made an Order in favour of Bianca that she keep the house and that Brendon pay to Bianca $1 million.

Brendon argued that the effect of this Order was to award Bianca more than the value of the pool of assets.

Brendon was hopping mad with this decision.

Brendon had an obligation to tell the Court what had happened to the $4 million.  Brendon had failed to discharge his obligation.  The Court made a presumption that it still existed.  Therefore, the Order made was well within the value of the pool and what Brendon could pay.

One has to be fairly careless to lose $4 million in a period of three years.  Surely you would be able to explain how you lost it and produce some evidence.

What Brendon needed to be told, in a very direct manner, was that he could not go to the Court and bluff.  He had to explain what happened to assets which would, in the ordinary course of events, form a part of the pool available for division.  If you don’t tell the other side what happened to an asset, then the Court can take a negative view and you can be the one who is significantly disadvantaged.

A good Family Law Specialist will not allow this to happen to you.  It is not helpful to your case to fail your obligation to disclose.

To find out what your rights and obligations are contact Family Law Matters on 1300 FAM LAW, 02 9523 3007 or contact us online.