One of the first steps in negotiating a family law agreement is the exchange of financial disclosure. If you’re in the process of separating, you have probably told your lawyer that one of your main goals is to get the process “over with” as quickly as possible. However, sacrificing full financial disclosure for the sake of expediency can have serious consequences.
Although it can be time-consuming, financial disclosure is a necessary step to ensure that both parties understand fully the consequences of their agreement. Although parties have a right to contract outside of the scope of the legal framework, without a baseline for comparison (i.e.: what am I legally entitled to?), it is impossible to know how good, or bad, a proposed settlement could be.
In addition, a lack of basic financial disclosure opens your agreement up to challenge. For example, if a spouse fails to disclose relevant financial information, despite the other spouse’s request for full disclosure, the agreement can be set aside by a Court. On the other hand, if a spouse agrees to proceed with an agreement without requesting full disclosure from the other, he or she cannot rely on “lack of financial disclosure” as a basis to re-negotiate the matter once they have settled.
In the Court Process, there are no options; full financial disclosure is required under the Family Law Rules. Please contact one of our experienced lawyers at Lloyd & Kemper LLP to receive further guidance and recommendations.