As a family law solicitor, disclosure is of the utmost importance when considering a financial settlement. Whilst a number of couples have complete transparency when it comes to the matrimonial finances, my personal experience is that a large number of clients have significantly less clarity, perhaps because one party has always dealt with the family finances or the parties have not pooled all of their resources during the marriage.

Given that a financial agreement once approved by the court is binding on all parties and almost impossible to revisit, save for in exceptional circumstances, it is important that parties have a unambiguous understanding of the exact financial resources available for consideration in the context of a settlement. 

As part of the court procedure, financial disclosure is a non negotiable requirement. However, outside of the court arena, the extent of any financial disclosure is up for agreement between the parties. 

A lack of financial disclosure makes it very difficult for a solicitor to advise comprehensively as to the merits of any settlement proposals. It can also mean that the parties may not be negotiating on a level playing field, with one party not having a full understanding and appreciation of all of the assets upon which they may be able to make a claim.

Before reaching any agreement it is always best practice to seek the advice of a legal professional who can consider the information to hand and highlight any further considerations that may be relevant. After all, it is always better to be safe than sorry!