Full and Frank Disclosure in Divorce Proceedings

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Adverse Inference

Parties to the divorce proceedings are expected to make full and frank disclosure about their financial resources.

The Court is able to draw an adverse inference against either party if he/ she is found to have failed to make full and frank disclosure of the matrimonial assets. This means that the party who is found to have hidden away certain matrimonial assets would receive a lower proportion of the known assets if the Court has not added a specific sum into the pool of matrimonial assets available for distribution to account for the hidden assets.

If you have reasons to believe that your spouse has not made full and frank disclosure in the divorce proceedings, you may wish to take up discovery and/ or interrogatories application(s) against him/ her.

Discovery

You may request for discovery of any document which is pertinent to the issues at hand (such as maintenance and division of matrimonial assets). In your request for discovery, you are required to describe the documents required and the reason(s) for the requests.

Following your request for discovery, your spouse would need to indicate via his/ her “notice in response to request for discovery”:

1. The documents which he/ she is willing and able to provide discovery of; and
2. The documents which he/ she is unwilling and/ or unable to provide discovery of. He/ she would also need to indicate the reasons for his/ her unwillingness and/ or inability to provide discovery of the requested documents.

Should your spouse maintain his/ her refusal to provide certain documents, you may file a summons application for discovery. The Court will then decide on the relevance of the documents requested for and make a decision on the discovery application.

Interrogatories

You may also request for interrogatories by posing questions to your spouse in the form of “interrogatory”. In your request for interrogatories, you are required to set out the interrogatories in the form of concise questions and provide your reason(s) for posing each interrogatory.

Following your request for interrogatories, your spouse would need to indicate via a document known as “notice in response to request for interrogatories” the following:

1. The interrogatories which he/ she is willing to respond to; and
2. The interrogatories which he/ she objects to answering and the reasons behind his/ her objections.

Similarly, should your spouse maintain his/ her refusal to answer to certain interrogatories or is not forthcoming in his/ her response, you may file a summons application for interrogatories. The Court will then decide on the relevance of the questions posed and make a decision on the interrogatories application.

Your divorce lawyer can assist by:

1. Advising you on the implications of having adverse inference drawn against you/ your spouse.

2. Making submissions to the Court on why adverse inference should be drawn against your spouse or why adverse inference should not be drawn against you.

3. Advising you on whether you should commence discovery and/ or interrogatories proceedings against your spouse.

4. Advising you on the documents to provide and the interrogatories to answer if your spouse were to initiate discovery and/ or interrogatories proceedings against you.

5. Representing you in all proceedings relating to the discovery and interrogatories.

You may also be interested to read more about:

1. Divorce and Separation

2. Annulment (Nullity) of Marriage

3. Children’s Issues

4. Matrimonial Assets

5. Maintenance Issues (Alimony)

6. Family Violence