What is a valuation date?

What is a valuation date?

During a marital breakdown there are a number of issues that need to be addressed before both spouses can move on to the next chapter of their lives. Depending on the length of your relationship there may be a number of assets that require equitable division. In most cases, matrimonial property can include all property accumulated during a marriage including both assets and debt. A variety of assets are captured including bank accounts, savings, RRSPs, the matrimonial home and other assets purchased during the course of the marriage.

In Alberta, Canada’s federal Divorce Act handles the legal landscape for both child and spousal support as it relates to divorce whereas Alberta’s Matrimonial Property Act outlines the division of matrimonial property. On January 1, 2020 amendments will come into effect changing the name of this Act to the Family Property Act and extending property division rules and criteria to adult interdependent partners. As a starting point, if the couple has a pre-existing agreement in place (e.g. pre-nuptial or co-habitation agreement) the division outlined in this agreement applies.

In the absence of such an agreement, the married couple has the option of coming up with their own property settlement contractual agreement outside of courts, however this legislation provides a fallback solution for the Courts to decide. Regardless of the pathway used the couple requires independent counsel and full, accurate financial disclosure to ensure the agreement’s enforceability.

Family law can be complicated and its always advisable to contact a local Edmonton divorce lawyer to understand your legal rights. Divorces and separations can be lengthy processes, especially if handled in court as opposed to mediation or collaborative law settings. As a result, a “snapshot” date has to be selected in order to assess a monetary value of all matrimonial property, also known as the valuation date.

Ideally, the separating couple secures as much supporting documentation as possible regarding income, property and debt values at the time of separation to facilitate monitoring changes that occur during the course of separation. Ultimately the valuation date is decided by the court after hearing both sides out. Although some assets are fairly straight-forward to value (e.g. bank balances) other assets can be challenging such as real estate or family-owned businesses. Certain assets may not qualify as matrimonial property.

Both parties have an obligation to be honest with one another by fully sharing financial information regarding all property each party owns. Even if the property is owned with someone else or located outside Alberta, there exists a duty to inform your spouse of it. This includes sharing any information on a property you may have gotten rid of in the past year. Typically this process is accomplished by a Notice to Disclose Court Document and results in a complete listing of all assets along with current values and dates and value when they were originally purchased at. These assets may fall into a variety of categories as per the Matrimonial Property Act. The debts acquired during this period are listed as well.

The Alberta Rules of Court also outline additional ways to secure financial disclosure through questioning under oath or through written questioning or in person. Not all property will necessarily be divided equally as certain categories are distributed based on what is fair in the circumstances.

In order to ensure compliance with the law and understand what you’re legally entitled to, it is advisable to retain the assistance of your family lawyer to help in populating your list. Once this information is submitted, the court will hear legal arguments and identify assets that qualify as matrimonial property and deliver the verdict on both asset value and division.

The judge will decide what is fair based on a variety of factors outlined in the legislation including:

  • Any pre-existing agreements between the spouses;
  • Income and earning capacity of each spouse;
  • Roles and contributions of each spouse during marriage;
  • Length of marriage; and
  • Prior court orders

The full suite of considerations is outlined in section 8 of the Matrimonial Property Act.

Speak with an experienced family lawyer today to better understand your legal rights as it relates to property division.

At Verhaeghe Law Office, our Edmonton divorce lawyers have experience in effectively dealing with matrimonial property issues and finding a timely resolution that is fair and equitable for both sides. Please contact us for a consultation today or by calling 587-410-2500 and speak directly with our legal team.

Note: This blog offers general information for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. You’re encouraged to seek legal advice to better understand how family law may be applied in your specific situation.

When Does Influence Become Paid Manipulation?

When Does Influence Become Paid Manipulation?

Between constant notifications and scrolling through various feeds during downtime, it’s not shocking that social media plays a strong, active role in most of our lives.

More and more businesses are noticing this, too. You might see advertisements in between pictures of your friends and family. While many people can ignore those pesky ads, what’s harder to ignore is when your favorite celebrity, blogger, or social media personality is subtly endorsing products in their posts. Are they talking about a certain clothing designer, shoes or food-related products? If they are, then they are considered an “influencer.”

A Deeper Look Into What an Influencer Is

By definition, an influencer is an online personality who shares opinions and advice about various types of products and services. These individuals could have a large advertising following, or “audience,” but some might have a small following. Influencer marketing isn’t just about giveaways or promotions―it can be as subtle as tagging the clothing brand the influencer may be wearing in the post.

Why is Influencer Marketing a Bad Thing?

The products they advertise can be misleading in any way shape or form. It also begs the question of, “Is this person posting about this product because they actually like it or because they’re being paid to advertise it?” You follow these people because you admire or aspire to be them in some shape or form. Their ingenuity can create a lack of trust.

Does this form of advertising on social media fall under the same legal regulation as other forms of advertising? It sure does. Under the Competition Act , any influencer must acknowledge they have a relationship with the advertiser, which indicates an exchange of materials and not necessarily money. Not communicating the relationship the influencer has with the advertiser prevents people from discerning what’s authentic and what is paid for, commonly referred to as misleading, or deceptive, marketing.

To avoid expensive legal actions, here are ways influencers can legally promote a brand and what consumers can look out for.

1. Visual disclosures

2. Acknowledgement of connections in each individual post

3. Disclosure is attached to post, so it stays when post is shared

4. Word and image content is appropriate

5. Reviews must be from actual experience

Remember, influencers don’t need to be celebrities. They can have 200 followers, or two million. What’s important to remember is when there is a promotion for an exchange of goods, there needs to be a disclosure.

At Verhaeghe Law Office, our lawyers specialize in corporate and commercial law, and we like to keep our clients well-versed in the legalities of relevant issues.

As a consumer, the next time you’re scrolling through and see your favorite blogger promoting their favorite skin serum, look to see if there is any indication for a paid advertisement. Does their post say #ad, #sponsored, or in partnership? If not, now you know why that can be a breach of trust and lead to legal issues down the road.

To learn more about the legal services we offer, please contact us by calling (587) 410-2500 today.