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.
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