What is a valuation date?

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.

Harsher Penalties In Effect For Driving Impaired

Harsher Penalties In Effect For Driving Impaired

Harsher Penalties

Driving impaired is never a good idea. Alberta recently updated the sanctions for alcohol and drug-impaired driving offences to align with the latest federal laws. These provisions were put into effect to update the laws after cannabis was legalized throughout the country. Today’s federal levels include 80 milligrams or more (mg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres (ml) of blood for alcohol. For cannabis (THC), between 2 nanograms (ng) and 5 ng is considered a less serious offence, while the more serious crime is to have 5 ng of THC or more per ml of blood. When alcohol and cannabis are found in tandem, 50mg or more of alcohol per 100ml blood and 2.5 ng or more of THC per ml of blood is prohibited to operate a motor vehicle.

What Are The New Laws?

Under Bill C-46, police no longer need to have any reasonable grounds to suspect impairment before demanding a sobriety test. Refusing the test can result in criminal charges. On top of that, if you drank within the past two hours after you’ve stopped driving, but your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over .08, you could get arrested, even though that’s not the intent of the law.

The Bolus Drinking Defence

The harsher laws were designed to help crack down on individuals who consume large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time and then trying to drive home before the alcohol is absorbed. This is called the bolus defence. It’s a defence that is no longer valid under the new laws, but it was one that raised doubt enough that it worked in the past. The Bolus Drinking Defence is defined by The Department of Justice as, “a defence for an individual to raise reasonable doubt that their BAC was over 80 mg at the time of driving by adducing evidence of consumption that is compatible with both the BAC at the time of testing and with a BAC of 80 or less at the time of driving.”

Are The New Laws Working?

Some in the law community have pointed out some of the potential flaws in these new laws. According to a news story from CBC, the law might be a solution to a problem that rarely exists and could punish deeply impact individuals who have done nothing wrong. The Department of Justice notes that in 2017, there were more than 69,000 impaired driving incidents and 3,500 drug-impaired driving incidents. Even with those staggering numbers, some people believe that these laws infringe on their basic rights and leave much of the details and potential evidence up for interpretation.

If you’ve been charged with drunk or impaired driving, give our team at Verhaeghe Law Office a call at 587-410-2500. We can help you.