Sworn Financial Disclosure

Sworn Financial Disclosure

Shinder v Shinder 2017 ONSC 4177  sets out the importance of how sworn financial disclosure in family (and estate) court actions must be honest and complete as it is a “bedrock principle” that the parties are entitled to rely upon.

The Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed that honest, complete financial disclosure is a bedrock principle in family law disputes. In Rick v. Brandsema, 2009 SCC 10, 303 D.L.R. (4th) 193, Abella J. states, at para. 47:
a duty to make full and honest disclosure of all relevant financial information is required to protect the integrity of the result of negotiations undertaken in these uniquely vulnerable circumstances.
The deliberate failure to make such disclosure may render the agreement vulnerable to judicial intervention where the result is a negotiated settlement that is substantially at variance from the objectives of the governing legislation.
30  I adopt the comments of Aitken J. in Buttrum v. Buttrum (2001), 15 R.F.L. (5th) 250, at para. 68 (Ont. S.C.) that the obligation to disclose requires completeness, clarity, and simplicity in disclosure made in sworn Financial Statements:
Complete, honest and on-going financial disclosure is required during the course of a family law case. That is the very purpose of r. 13. [ . . . ] The purpose of financial statements is to ensure disclosure is made quickly and repeatedly as circumstances change, and in a manner that is consistent and easy to follow. [Emphasis added.]
31 Disclosure cannot be selective or misleading. Understanding the assets and debts at marriage and separation is not meant to be a costly game, requiring parties to read the fine print seeking clarification and ferreting out information.
32 Parties are entitled to, and do rely on sworn Financial Statements to accurately set out the assets and interests and values the property of a party as a basis for settling their cases. Accurate and complete Financial Statements are crucially important

Trevor Todd

Trevor Todd is one of the province’s most esteemed estate litigation lawyers. He has spent more than 40 years helping the disinherited contest wills and transfers – and win. From his Kerrisdale office, which looks more like an eclectic art gallery than a lawyer’s office, Trevor empowers claimants and restores dignity to families across BC. He is a mentor to young entrepreneurs and an art buff who supports starving artists the world over. He has an eye for talent and a heart for giving back.

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