Saturday, November 24, 2007

Divorce - asset discovery - why no mandatory disclosures?

Again, thanks to Divorce Law Journal's post, More Family Law Blogs for alerting me to Australian Divorce Blog. There I ran across the following in a post titled Show and tell, not hide and seek -disclosure part 1.

The Family Law Rules set out a shopping list of things to be disclosed before going to court, but more important is the phrase: "full and frank disclosure in a timely manner".

This means, subject to privilege, that there has to be openness about disclosure for documents (including computer files) that might even be harmful to that party's cause but are relevant to the dispute.
These two paragraphs get me thinking. We have this kind of disclosure in our federal civil matters. Those counties having mandatory financial declarations ought to approximately reach this kind of disclosure but I think what I read here extends past mere financial declarations.

What is the most expensive part of any litigation? Discovery. For the non-lawyers, that is the period where we get information from the other side and give information to the other side. I managed to cut down some of the work by automating my discovery with HotDocs. Still, the preparing and filing of Motions to Produce and Interrogatories remain a cost. That cost could be alleviated by mandatory disclosures.

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