Duty of disclosure requires all parties to provide the Court and each other party all information relevant to an issue in the case. This includes information and documents that the other parties may not know about. This duty starts with the pre-action procedure before the case starts and continues until the case is finalised.
As a party, you must continue to provide information and documents as circumstances change or more documents are created or come into your possession, power or control. The Court’s brochure Duty of disclosure provides an overview of duty of disclosure obligations.
It includes information about:
- full and frank disclosure and what that might mean in financial and parenting cases
- written undertakings that must be given to the Court
- documents to be disclosed
- penalties for failure to disclose or for filing false undertakings.
This is a complex area of law. The information here is an overview only of the requirements. You must carefully read Chapter 13 of the Family Law Rules to understand your full obligations.
Parties must make full and frank disclosure about their circumstances before the first court event. What is required varies depending on whether parenting issues or financial issues (or both) are in dispute.
Full and frank disclosure in parenting cases
Rule 13.01 requires parties to make full and frank disclosure of all information relevant to a parenting case, at all stages in a case. The relevant information and documents will be case specific.
For example, they may include:
- medical reports about a child or parent
- school reports
- letters and drawings by the child
- a diary.
When preparing for financial discussions that involve children, you should collect receipts for expenses such as:
- school fees
- child care fees
- health care costs
- any other expenses such as music, sport or other activities.
Rule 15.55 requires a party who has obtained an expert’s report for a parenting case to give a copy of the report to the other parties and the independent children’s lawyer (if appointed).
Undertakings about disclosure
Rule 13.15 requires all parties (except for an independent children's lawyer) to file an undertaking. The Court’s brochure Duty of disclosure provides an overview of your obligations.