Documents to Provide Your Spouse After Separation
Exchange of information – known as disclosure – is critical in any family law case. Without it, neither side in a legal action may know what their claim is, what their chance of success may be, or even if they have a case at all.
A lack of disclosure can delay a negotiated settlement or a resolution in mediation. How is the family property to be divided? What is the proper amount of child support? Is there a spousal support/alimony claim? To ensure disclosure, many processes have been developed to assist and even force the exchange of important documentation in family law cases.
In British Columbia, parties to litigation are required to exchange Form 8 Financial Statements. In Alberta, the documentation is called a Response to a Notice to Disclose. These documents are often also used when parties are attempting to settle matters out of court through negotiation, mediation or arbitration. These forms include sworn statements of income assets and liabilities, but the following must also be provided:
- Complete Income Tax Returns for the past three years;
- Notices of Assessment and Re-Assessment for the past three years;
- If a spouse is an employee, the most recent statement of earnings indicating the total earnings paid in the year to date, including overtime or, where such a statement is not provided by the employer, a letter from the spouse’s employer setting out that information including the spouse’s rate of annual salary or remuneration;
- If the spouse is a beneficiary under a trust, a copy of the trust settlement agreement and copies of the trust’s three most recent financial statement;
- If a spouse receives income from employment insurance, social assistance, a pension, workers compensation, disability payments or any other source, the most recent statement of income indicating the total amount of income from the applicable source during the current year, or if such a statement is not provided, a letter from the appropriate authority stating the required information; and
- If the spouse is a student, a statement indicating the total amount of student finding received during the current academic year, including loans, grants, bursaries, scholarships and living allowances.
- If a spouse is self-employed in an unincorporated business:
- particulars or copies of every cheque issued to you during the last 6 weeks from any business or corporation in which you have an interest, or to which you have rendered a service;
- the financial statements of your business or professional practice for the 3 most recent taxation years; and
- a statement showing a breakdown of all salaries, wages, management fees or other payments or benefits paid to yourself, or to persons or corporations with whom you do not deal at arm's length, for the 3 most recent taxation years.
- If the spouse is a partner in a partnership, confirmation of income and draws from, and capital in, the partnership for its 3 most recent taxation years.
- If the spouse has a 1% or more interest in a privately held corporation:
- the financial statements of the corporation and its subsidiaries for its 3 most recent taxation years;
- a statement showing a breakdown of all salaries, wages, management fees or other payments or benefits paid to yourself, or to persons or corporations with whom the corporation, and every related corporation, does not deal at arm's length for the corporation's 3 most recent taxation years; and (a) the financial statements of the corporation and its subsidiaries for its 3 most recent taxation years; and
- a record showing your shareholder's loan transactions for the past 12 months.
If child support is at issue, the following documents are required:
- A detailed list of any special or extraordinary expenses claimed as well as copies of receipts or other documentation providing the amount of those expenses, namely:
- healthcare and extended medical and dental insurance premiums attributable to the child;
- child care costs;
- uninsured health care and dental expenses;
- extraordinary educational expenses;
- post-secondary educational expenses; and
- extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities.
Each province also has additional requirements for disclosure. In Alberta, you are required to provide copies of all statements and cancelled cheques for all bank accounts held solely or jointly in your name for the most recent 6 months, and copies of credit card statements for all credit cards solely or jointly in your name for the most recent 6 months.
In British Columbia you are required to provide a list of all property disposed of during the past two years or since the date of marriage (if the parties have been married for less than two years) and the most recent property assessment issued by your municipality or city for all properties that you own or have an interest in.
If further documentation is needed to determine income for the calculation of child support or spousal support, or for the valuation of property, these documents will typically be provided. If your spouse can provide a good reason why additional financial documentation is essential to properly calculate your income or to value the matrimonial property, it is likely the court will order you to provide this information and may rule legal costs against you if the matter is forced to court. As such, it is most often in your interests to voluntarily provide all documentation required to assess incomes and the values of assets, businesses and property. In any circumstances of sensitive information you are hesitant to disclose, contacting a lawyer is a must.
In the end, if necessary financial disclosure is not provided, the BC Family Law Act and the Alberta Rules of Court offer remedies. These include orders to provide documents by a certain date, money for future legal costs, general fines or even holding the non-disclosing party in contempt of court.
Have concerns about exchanging information with your former spouse? Chat with a Legal Navigator at Coach My Case to ensure the paper trail is a smooth one.