Do I Have to Show My Bank Accounts to My Spouse?

personal bank accounts

As long as you and your spouse are not involved in family law litigation, or you are under a court order to disclose your bank accounts, you are under no legal obligation to show your spouse the contents of a bank account that is solely in your name. If accounts are joint, then the other account holder has a right to information regarding the account and to see the statements. As far as whether you should show the account to your spouse, that is a matter of personal choice.

Ontario Family Law Podcast

34 - Financial Disclosure in Family Law Cases

If you do separate from your spouse, and you want a separation agreement or you end up in court, the rules are different. Financial disclosure (including of bank accounts) is the first step, and the cornerstone, of family law proceedings. It is a requirement under the Family Law Act that all separating spouses make full and frank disclosure of all relevant financial information. Rule 13 of the Ontario Family Law Rules says you have to make that disclosure right at the very beginning of your case - almost as soon as you start your case or almost right after you have been served with court documents.  You should listen to this podcast that explains what disclosure is necessary in family law cases, when it has to be provided, and what can happen if not enough disclosure is provided. This page on family court disclosure is also a good resource to check out.  As part of this disclosure, you will have to disclose all the accounts you currently hold and their balances. You will also have to show them the statements to prove the amounts in the account. You should also watch this video, where I explain the issues regarding hiding money in family law cases and how a good lawyer will be able to track money that spouses have hidden.

If you think that your separation will involve going to court, you should watch this video on family court and how to prepare yourself for it. If you want to resolve your separation outside court, this link provides some explanations on the extra-judicial ways to do this. If you do end up in court, the fact that you did not show your spouse your personal bank account will probably not affect your case, as you were under no obligation to show it to him. However, if you do not disclose the account as part of your financial disclosure, there are serious consequences, ranging from the judge awarding costs against you to possibly dismissing your case.

Book - Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law

Regardless of whether for court or for a separation agreement, financial disclosure is complicated and is one of the reasons why separating spouses should always contact a lawyer.   To learn even more about separation and the rules of financial disclosure, you may want to get a copy of this easy-to-understand book on the basics of Ontario Family Law as a paperback, or as a $9.99 eBook for Kindle or Kobo or as an iBook for iPad, iPhone or Mac.  You may also want to listen to this podcast or watch this video. You can also use the search on the right to find lots more articles about marriage and divorce.

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle

Balancing your privacy with the expectation in family court can be tricky. To protect yourself, or just discuss your case, contact Certified Specialist in Family Law, John Schuman, who is an expert in child support issues, call 416-446-5847, email him, or use the form below. We answer all inquiries promptly.

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