Whether you are entering into a relationship property agreement or a contracting out agreement, disclosure is an essential part of the process.

What is disclosure?

Disclosure is evidence of all the assets and liabilities you and your partner own.

Common types of information that must be included in disclosure is evidence of any:

  •          Land and any valuations of your land or statements of your home loans;
  •          Vehicles;
  •          Statements showing the balance of any shares you may own;
  •          Statements showing the balance of your bank accounts or credit cards; and
  •          Statements showing the balance of your Kiwisaver or other superannuation.

Why is disclosure important?

It is important that your disclosure is provided to your lawyer and the other party in order to indicate where each party stands financially and what assets (or liabilities) that they may be entitled to. This gives both parties and their lawyers an idea of what property they are entitled to by law and allows your lawyer to advise you on this.

Without full disclosure from both parties your lawyer cannot properly advise you on your entitlements. Additionally, without receiving full and complete disclosure, your lawyer cannot be satisfied that you understand what you are agreeing to, including whether you may be making any compromises.

It is important to note that if full and complete disclosure is not provided when reaching a relationship property agreement or a contracting out agreement, there is a risk that the agreement could be overturned by the Court in the future.

What happens if you do not provide your disclosure?

If either party fails to provide their disclosure to their lawyer and the other party, the failure to do so often leads to large delays in proceedings and potential applications to the Court, which can be costly.

An example of this was seen in a Family Court case where an ex-partner failed to provide full and accurate disclosure, as he didn’t think that his bank accounts were relevant to the separation proceedings.

This failure to provide disclosure led to the filing of a number of documents to the Court, which meant that both parties had to invest a lot of money and effort to get that issue resolved.

Eventually the Court decided that the bank details were in the scope of the disclosure required and ordered the man to provide the evidence.

This could have been avoided if both parties had provided accurate information of their assets and liabilities in the first place. Both of the parties spent money on lawyers, and time in Court to sort out a matter that could have been avoided.

If there is confusion regarding what is required to be included in disclosure, it pays to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.

 

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

Gianna Menzies