Property Settlements

“Full and frank disclosure” – What is it?

TGB's Dina Paspaliaris on the importance of being open about your financial situation when negotiating a property settlement.

TGB’s Dina Paspaliaris on the importance of being open about your financial situation when negotiating a property settlement.


As a family lawyer, I have a duty to tell my clients of their obligation to make “full and frank disclosure” of all assets and financial resources in their possession and to constantly keep me updated of their financial situation throughout their matter.

My clients will often ask “What is full and frank disclosure” and “Why is it so important?”

Under Rule 13.04 of the Family Law Rules both parties to a property settlement are obliged to provide “full and frank disclosure” both to their lawyer and to the other party in relation to their financial circumstances.

Rule 13.04 states:

A party to a financial case must make full and frank disclosure of the parties’ financial circumstances, including:

a. The parties’ earnings, including income that is paid or assigned to another party, person or legal entity;

b. Any vested or contingent interest in property;

c. Any vested or contingent interest in property owned by a legal entity that is fully or partially owned or controlled by a party;

d. Any income earned by a legal entity fully or partially owned or controlled by a party, including income that is paid or assigned to any other party, person or legal entity;

e. The party’s other financial resources;

f. Any trust;

g. Any disposal of property;

h. Liabilities and contingent liabilities.

I believe the Rule has been designed to try and make parties be “honest” about their assets, liabilities, financial resources and financial circumstances generally.  If both parties give “full and frank disclosure” it enables lawyers to enter meaningful settlement discussions to try and resolve matters and it can also allow the Court to make findings and deliver a judgment which is just and equitable to all parties.

It is therefore important to be open and upfront about your financial position to your lawyer as with today’s technology, there is a high chance of it being uncovered in any event.

It is not advisable that you try and “hide” any assets as the truth will always prevail.

TGB is South Australia’s largest family law firm. For advice about your divorce matter, contact your nearest TGB office.