Show and tell, not hide and seek -disclosure part 1

Show and tell, not hide and seek -disclosure part 1

Somerset Maugham said as long ago as 1926 in “The Constant Wife”: “There is only one freedom that is really important and that is economic freedom, for he who pays the piper calls the tune.”

Whilst not the only freedom that is really important, it is imperative to have economic freedom.

One of the key features about negotiating a deal about your property, to ensure that a party has economic freedom, whether or not the parties go to court, is to ensure that there has been full disclosure of their financial circumstances.

The Family Law Rules set out a shopping list of things to be disclosed before going to court, but more important is the phrase: “full and frank disclosure in a timely manner”.

This means, subject to privilege, that there has to be openness about disclosure for documents (including computer files) that might even be harmful to that party’s cause but are relevant to the dispute.

To paraphrase Federal Magistrate Lucev recently – counsel put it succintly as it’s a case of “show and tell” not “hide and seek”.

I sometimes decribe it to clients as “I hate surprises.” Almost invariably they are going to be bad ones, at a trial, when my client will be in least control of what can happen to their future. It is rare to have good surprises at court.

Of course often clients complain that their ex has not made full disclosure. The obvious question that gets asked is: “before we [go to court/ write a nasty letter/ issues subpoenas etc] have YOU made full disclosure?” Usually the immediate answer is no, but on further checking often it is yes.

I will have further posts about what to do if the other side does not make full disclosure.

Things to Read, Watch & Listen

Forced Marriage

On November 1st 2023, Accredited Family Law Specialist and Page Provan Director Stephen Page presented a paper at the Brisbane Zonta Club about forced marriage. I acknowledge the Jagera and Turrbal peoples, on whose lands we meet today, their elders, past, present and emerging. Ruqia Hidari was aged 21 and living in Victoria, when, according to police,… Read More »Forced Marriage

ACT Government Surrogacy Bill

The ACT Government has today introduced a bill to amend the ACT’s surrogacy laws. The proposed changes are more incremental than fundamental. They include allowing a single person to undertake surrogacy, for the surrogate to be single if needed, a requirement for legal advice and counselling beforehand, a written agreement being required, that traditional surrogacy is… Read More »ACT Government Surrogacy Bill

Planning to resolve: ADR in ART

ADR can help resolve disputes in ART cases. ADR is not limited to mediation and arbitration. Other types of informal dispute resolution can resolve disputes. When assisted reproductive treatment cases go off the rails, they can have the next level of bitterness and volatility. There can be a keen sense of betrayal when things don’t… Read More »Planning to resolve: ADR in ART