Offices in Ottawa and Perth
(613) 722-1500

CONTACT US (613) 722-1500

Non-Disclosure in the Context of a Domestic Contract: Beware!

Non-Disclosure in the Context of a Domestic Contract: Beware!


Mann Lawyers

Posted August 25, 2020

As family lawyers, we are often contacted by clients who want a domestic contract negotiated, drafted and/or reviewed as quickly as possible. However, before this process can begin, there is an initial step that the spouses involved need to take. This step is the exchange of full and frank financial disclosure.

Exchanging full and frank financial disclosure is the process in which spouses provide each other with complete information regarding their respective financial circumstances.

This step is fundamental to the negotiation, drafting and review of any domestic contract. In fact, it is a crucial step in any family matter, whether the matter is in Court, is being negotiated privately with the assistance of lawyers or has already been resolved between the parties among themselves. It ensures that each spouse is fully informed of the other’s financial circumstances prior to making decisions on their family matter and/or entering into a domestic contract.

Spouses are commonly seen wanting to skip this step entirely for various reasons such as :

  1. they want to incur as little on legal fees as possible;
  2. they are amicable with each other and don’t want to “rock the boat”;
  3. they are already “aware” of each other’s financial circumstances;
  4. they have already resolved their family matter among themselves, on their own terms.

Whether or not spouses have the above-noted reasons, exchanging financial disclosure is necessary.

As expressed by Justice Binnie in a Supreme Court of Canada decision, Leskun v. Leskun,  non-disclosure of a party’s financial circumstances is the cancer of family law and promotes inadequate settlements.

Without complete and accurate financial disclosure from both spouses, lawyers are unable to properly advise clients on their settlement/contract or assist them in making an informed decision during negotiations.

Further, failure by either spouse to proceed with this step can leave a domestic contract vulnerable to a spouse challenging its validity and having it set aside by a Court in the future.

Pursuant to section 56(4) of the Family Law Act, a Court can set aside some or all terms of a domestic contract if :

  1. a party failed to disclose to the other significant assets, or significant debts or other liabilities, existing when the domestic contract was made;
  2. if a party did not understand the nature or consequences of the domestic contract; or
  3. otherwise in accordance with the law of contract.

It is therefore important that spouses be transparent and cooperative in providing their respective financial disclosure prior to entering a domestic contract.  Inaccurate, incomplete or misleading financial disclosure can have serious consequences that may cost a spouse much more money and grief in the long run.

This blog post was written by Stephanie Simard, a member of the Real Estate and Family Law teams.  She can be reached at 613-369-0385 or at

More Resources

Blog |
Estate Litigation


Posted September 20, 2022

Disputes over a will after a testator has died can result in costly and time-consuming litigation.  Testators may anticipate this conflict and try to avoid[...]
Blog |
Business Law


Posted September 6, 2022

Canada is a lush, beautiful country, and nature abounds. Canada is also a vibrant economic market and foreign companies looking to do business in Canada[...]
Blog |
Real Estate


Posted August 30, 2022

There has been much discussion on the changes in the real estate market, particularly on affordability. To save costs, many prospective buyers and sellers may[...]
Blog |
Practice Management


Posted August 23, 2022

In an earlier blog post, I discussed some practice development tips for newer lawyers.  This post continues that conversation. Not Work Life Balance – Integration[...]
Blog |
Practice Management


Posted August 15, 2022

Most seniors have an opinion on what new or newer lawyers should be considering concerning practice development.  Me too.  I don’t think there is a[...]
Blog |
Environmental Law


Posted August 8, 2022

Purchasing a property that is contaminated can be daunting.  There are many risks to consider, including significant liability risks.  In some cases, a full assessment[...]

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.