Hello, my name is Robin and I own a medium sized business which is based in a suburb of Perth, Australia. Many business owners do not understand the importance of commercial law on their operations. I know that I certainly didn't when I set out. At first, this wasn't an issue but as my business grew, I realised that if I didn't teach myself about the legal rules in place and seek expert help, I would find myself in serious trouble. I got in touch with a great law firm who helped me to understand exactly what I needed to know. I decided to start this blog to help other business owners.
If your marriage or partnership has sadly descended into acrimony, it can be difficult to calm everything down. Cooler heads may not always prevail, and you may find that your former partner has now commenced proceedings that could end up in family court. You know that you will have to defend your ground, and you may also be required to submit detailed information to their lawyers to substantiate their claim for support. How detailed do you need to be as you gather this information together, and what are the consequences if you leave something out?
Are You Confused?
You should already be working with your own lawyer, and if not, it would be in your best interests to retain one. They will then be able to advise you of the finer details and help gather all the necessary financials. If nothing else, you will have some peace of mind and know exactly where you stand as the case proceeds.
Where to Begin
Begin by filling in a financial statement, as this will be the master document that both sides refer to. You are best placed to understand your full financial picture, but if in any doubt that something should be included, ask your lawyer. Failure to disclose information can lead to significant penalties, contempt of court and a poor end result.
What to Include
To begin, gather all credit card statements and bank reconciliations over the last year, and fish out those mortgage statements at the same time. You will need to include details of your superannuation contribution and its current value, and you should ask your accountant to provide you with your tax returns. Back this up with salary information or pay slips.
Do you have any investments to report? Do you own a business, or have shares in a separate entity? Pull together all this information.
Next, consider any loans that you've taken out, whether they are formal (from banking institutions, for example) or informal, from parents or other relatives. Detail the repayments you've made against those loans.
You can now expand on any other assets you may have, including your car, house and any smaller, but also equally significant items like silver, gold or other precious metals. If you have an expensive painting in your study, that has to go on the list as well.
Finally, don't forget certain intangible elements such as annual leave that you haven't taken, which could be converted into cash as an option.
If in Doubt…
Of course, this list is not comprehensive, and you may need to dig deep in your case. Always ask your lawyer for support as you need it. Contact family law solicitors for additional advice.