A Toronto Star article published in October 2013 cites studies that point to conflicts over money, as a top predictor of divorce. Statistics Canada data reveals that in Canada, 41% of all marriages end in divorce. Other common arguments between spouses include children, in-laws, sex and quality time together. However, disputes over money was overwhelmingly the main indicator of divorce. It is therefore recommended to know your partner’s spending and saving habits. Open and honest discussions between spouses about finances is important for a healthy relationship.
In the event of a separation, Ontario Family Law requires spouses to disclose to each other all income, assets and debts in order to properly calculate child support, spousal support and property division. This includes disclosure of income earned by a spouse in Canada and around the world, as well as disclosure of all property whether in Canada or in another country. Changes to a spouse’s financial situation and annual income disclosure through exchange of tax returns, is a common requirement.
If financial disclosure is not voluntarily made by one spouse, the other spouse may seek a court order for disclosure. Where a party breaches a disclosure order, the court can make a contempt order, impute income, order costs, strike out documents, dismiss a party’s case, or make any other order that is appropriate.
Full financial disclosure is also required before parties enter into a marriage contract or cohabitation agreement. Ontario Family Law enables a court to set aside a domestic contract if a party failed to disclose to the other significant assets or debts.