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Vancouver Surrey Family Financial Non Disclosure

Vancouver Surrey Family Financial Non-Disclosure lawyers discuss Credibility and Nondisclosure in family cases and why non-disclosure on even one issue can cause devastating consequences to the perpetrator. Susanna Chen, a rising star at our Vancouver office speaks fluent Mandarin. In today’s blog, Susanna explains why it is unwise to hide income or assets and how our top lawyers can help discover financial non-disclosure.

Vancouver Surrey Family Financial Non -Disclosure  1 877 602 9900

The oft-cited passage in family law is “non-disclosure of assets is the cancer of matrimonial property litigation.”  BC Courts have made it abundantly clear that full financial disclosure is essential to family law litigation.  It is even more critical when cases proceed to trial, with the trial judge being tasked with fact-finding regarding family property and family debt, particularly where there are significant credibility issues.  In such cases, judges can draw adverse inferences and make imputations.  In today’s blog, Mandarin-speaking lawyer Susanna Chen part of Canada’s largest Mandarin and Cantonese family law team describes two recent BC family law cases where credibility and nondisclosure affected the outcome of the cases. Vancouver Surrey Family Financial Non Disclosure cases can involve one or both parties being less than candid. 

Lifestyle Audits and The Smell Test

In Zhao v. Fang, 2019 BCSC 995, the trial judge made unfavourable comments about the credibility of both parties, noting that both parties claimed to have modest incomes yet somehow could come up with legal fees for a lengthy trial:

[12] Thus it is with some concern that I deal with a 16 day trial, the costs to each side far exceeding their ostensible incomes. The evidence before me makes some of the decisions I am making, at best, based on speculation, for there is clear evidence of wealth which must be in China, and perhaps within the families, if not directly owned by the parties.

[42] At the outset I am obliged to express my scepticism as to the nature and quality of the evidence and my concern about full disclosure.

[43] It is evident that the parties had accumulated substantial wealth by the year 2000. There is evidence of substantial income being paid to Mr. Zhao from the three projects he obtained from his father in the 2000 decade.

[44] There is evidence of vast sums of money (by Mr. Zhao’s own account, ¥23,000,000) moving through his stock accounts but little in the way of underlying paper.

[46] … [Mr. Zhao] has made no attempt to find any employment in Canada since 2013 save for a short stint in a grocery store and a low-paying property management agreement with one of his friends. Thus, with respect to the financial abilities of the parties and their assets, I do not accept the positions being put forward, at least by Mr. Zhao. He proclaimed he had made full disclosure. The net effect of the evidence shows huge sums of monies moving through the various bank accounts between 2000 and 2014, and I can only infer he has not made full disclosure to the Court.

[47] It is patent that his parents are well-positioned in Chinese society and wealthy. It is equally patent then that the financial plan would have been when the family moved to Canada there would be a gradual transfer of the Chinese assets to allow a steady provision of income to support the family in British Columbia.

[48] One may ask, how else can the parties afford such a protracted trial?

Although the claimant father claimed to have no income, the judge found that the financial records showed substantial funds flowing through his bank accounts. Ultimately, the trial judge found that the claimant husband had not provided full disclosure, and imputed his income at $100,000 to determine child support and spousal support. 

Vancouver Surrey Family Financial Non-Disclosure Lawyers 1 877 602 9900

Sidhu v. Sidhu, 2019 BCSC 442 is a recent case where the respondent wife’s lack of credibility had a devastating impact on her family law case.  While both parties’ credibility was found to be lacking, the judge particularly condemned the respondent-wife for submitting false documents to the immigration authorities, for failing to disclose financial records for her business in India, and for reporting fictitious debts in her Financial Statement.  Ultimately, the court declined to divide any property based on significant unfairness arising from the respondent’s lack of financial disclosure:

[148] Without proper financial disclosure by the respondent, the Court is not in a position, as contemplated under the FLA, to make a reliable determination of the appropriate apportionment of family property. It would be significantly unfair to the claimant for the Court to simply guess based on what the Court suspects the respondent may earn and own. If the respondent is left feeling “short-changed”, she has herself to blame.

[149] In this regard, I note the apt comments of Justice Southin, as she then was, in Le v. Milburn (1987), 8 A.C.W.S. (3d) 114 (B.C.S.C.), regarding the difficulty the trier of fact faces when there is significant exaggeration:

When a litigant practices to deceive, whether by deliberate falsehood or gross exaggeration, the court has much difficulty in disentangling the truth from the web of deceit and exaggeration. If, in the course of the disentangling of the web, the court casts aside as untrue something that was indeed true, the litigant has only himself or herself to blame. In this case there has been some deliberate falsehood and some exaggeration.

Call our top-rated family lawyers now if you have a Vancouver Surrey Family Financial Non-Disclosure case where you need a skilled lawyer to expose the malfeasance of a spouse. We can help in high stakes cases of Vancouver Surrey Family Financial Non-Disclosure. We have 6 offices across BC and in Calgary Alberta and have a proven track record of finding millions of hidden cash and family property. 

If you are facing a high-stakes case involving family property, our experienced Family Law Financial Disclosure Lawyers will help you ensure that you are providing complete and accurate disclosure, and also strategize to compel proper disclosure and find hidden assets.