The Matrimonial Property Act was enacted in 1978 and provides a method of sharing matrimonial property between spouses on marriage breakdown.
What property is available for sharing and how is it valued? Since 2005, the law applied by the courts is that the property must be valued at trial.
In reviewing Alberta cases since 2009, this date is problematic. It is an uncertain future date, assumes spouses will litigate to trial, and discourages earlier party driven settlements.
ALRI has reviewed the law and decisions and now puts forward for comment three recommendations:
- The spouses should be able to agree on the valuation date.
- If the spouses do not agree, the date is presumed to be the date the spouses separate.
- Variations in value of property after separation are best dealt with by the factors set out in section 8 of the Act.
Separation date should facilitate settlement, reduce cost and delay, and allow decisions to be made on the basis of more accurate information.