Avoid Family Law Non-Disclosure Mistakes if you want to increase your chances of success in your BC or Calgary family law case. Today Jeremy Thomsen discusses the pitfalls of not providing Disclosure in your family law case.
Both parties in a family law proceeding must disclose any documents relevant to the case and the litigation. See the excellent blog Working With Your Family Law Team for a list of documents typically required to be disclosed.
At first glance, it might seem tempting not to provide the required disclosure. You might wonder, “why should I help the other side? If they want documents, let them try to find them.” That, however, is a really bad idea.
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Section 212 of the Family Law Act (the “FLA”) allows a court to order disclosure by the Supreme Court Family Rules (the “Rules”).
Section 213 of the FLA provides that if you do not provide the required disclosure by the Rules, or provide false, incomplete, or misleading information, a court may:
a. draw an adverse (not favourable) inference, including attributing income to you in whatever amount the court considers appropriate and making an order based on that inference;
b. require you to give security in any form the court directs;
c. order you to pay for all expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred as a result of the non-disclosure;
d. require you to pay for the benefit of the party, spouse or child whose interests were affected by the non-disclosure or incomplete, false, or misleading information up to an amount of $5,000;
e. fine you up to $5,000; or
f. make any other order the court considers appropriate.
So, by not providing disclosure, you may be ordered to pay more in child and/or spousal support than otherwise would be warranted, as the court can simply decide your income level. You may also have to give security or pay the other side costs concerning getting disclosure or an amount up to $5,000. These are 2 reasons why you want to avoid family law non-disclosure mistakes.
Refusing to provide disclosure also costs valuable time. Your lawyer and support team will have to spend time replying to the other side’s demands for disclosure. You will likely be billed for this. Your legal team may have to respond to court applications (which you will almost certainly lose) and prepare additional materials. All of these things will cost you additional time and money and serve no purpose.
In L.W. v. F.W., 2018 BCSC 1924 the husband suffered serious financial consequences from non-disclosure.
Providing disclosure is not optional; it is mandatory. You can either do it by consent or the other side can get a court order (for which you will likely have to pay costs) and the Court has several additional options that could potentially cost you even more.
If that does not sound appealing, and it should not, make it easier on yourself and provide requested disclosure promptly so you can avoid family law non-disclosure mistakes.
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The lawyers and support team at MacLean Law want to help you resolve your matter as quickly and efficiently as possible, on terms that are favourable to you—by providing all required disclosure you can help us better help you. We hope this article helps you avoid family law non-disclosure mistakes.