The Family Court may, within the scope of its jurisdiction, upon the application of a spouse issue an order under which the other spouse is obliged, within 15 days from its issue or at any other time set out by the court, to file an affidavit describing clearly and precisely the assets in which he/she has any direct or indirect interest on the date of the separation or on any other relevant date defined by the court. This possibility is provided by an article of the law on property relations and aims at the full disclosure of the spouses’ assets in order to ascertain the state of affairs in relation to their property which is subject to sharing in the context of resolving property disputes. In this way, the information and details given by the spouses regarding their assets can be verified.
The property relations between spouses vary due to the different type of assets, the manner and time they were acquired, the percentage of each spouse’s contribution and in whose name the assets are registered. The term “property relations” of spouses who are separated means their relations regarding movable and immovable property acquired with the prospect of marriage or at any time during the marriage by either of them. “Contribution” means any form of contribution by the spouses or the creation of property and includes the care of the family home and the family members. The Supreme Court in a judgment issued on 2.11.2017 set aside the judgment of the Family Court stating that it provides for the possibility to verify whether the spouses’ statements and material provided in their affidavits are correct. For this purpose, the affiants are summoned to be examined on a date the court will fix before the hearing of the case so that the only issue to be heard will be the assessment of the contribution of each spouse on the basis of the increase of the property which constitutes the object of sharing.
The Supreme Court referred to case law and stated the following passage: “The obligation under article 14A burdens both litigants equally, without any discrimination. The law establishes full procedural equality. None of the litigants is placed in a disadvantageous position towards the other. Furthermore, the understanding is wrong that this procedure imposes an obligation to disclose evidence to the opponent. This provision is not related to proving the dispute in issue. The knowledge of the litigants’ assets at the material time constitutes a prerequisite for the application of the essential provisions of the law. The disclosure of the assets is the commencement of the procedure.
This provision aims at ensuring the state of affairs regarding the assets of the spouses so that justice will be done. Therefore, it refers to the one who knows the situation better than the other and it imposes an obligation upon him for disclosure, which must not be untrue, imprecise or incomplete. In any event, he is not put in a disadvantageous position towards the other by filing an affidavit for disclosure before the trial”. The Supreme Court held that in the absence of any findings by the Family Court for the wife’ contribution in the increase of the husband’s property, an issue was raised whether the case should be tried. However, due to the long time passed, the Supreme Court exercised its legislative authority and issued an order awarding the wife her contribution which was equal to 1/3 in accordance with the presumption of the law, taking into consideration her indirect contribution through caring for the family home and family members.