Parties to a case in the Family Court similarly have a duty to make full and frank disclosure of all information relevant to the issues in dispute in a timely manner. This duty starts at the pre-action procedure stage in the Family Court before the case commences and continues until the case is finalised [See Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth) r 13.01].
Any documents that have been disclosed can only be used for the purpose of resolving the dispute for which they were disclosed [r 13.07A].
Parties to a case in the Family Court should, as soon as practicable on learning of the dispute, exchange a schedule of assets, income and liabilities; a list of documents in their possession relevant to the dispute; and a copy of any document required by the other party. Schedule 1, Part 1, 4(5) of the Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth) lists the types of documents it is appropriate to disclose.
The list includes recent tax returns and assessments, superannuation information, relevant business statements and market valuations (if they are necessary).
Rules 4.15, 12.05 and 13.04 also give a guide to the sorts of documents and information to disclose. Rule 13.12 indicates the documents a party does not have to disclose.
If they haven't already, parties should endeavour to exchange documents at least 2 days before the first court date [r 12.02].
Federal Circuit Court
Parties to a case in the Federal Circuit Court have a duty to make full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances in their financial statement and/or affidavit they file with the Court [see Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001 (Cth) r 24.03]. If there is a significant change in circumstances, the party must file an amended affidavit and/or financial statement as soon as reasonably practicable [see r 24.06].
Rule 24.04 sets out a list of documents that need to be exchanged within 14 days after the first court date. It includes recent tax returns and assessments, superannuation information and relevant business statements.
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