Alberta Law Reform Institute Final Report on Matrimonial Property Valuation
The Matrimonial Property Act (MPA) in Alberta sets out the default rules that govern the division of spouses’ matrimonial property after separation and divorce. The term valuation date refers to the date matrimonial property is valued for division. Valuation of matrimonial property is an important part of the division process; but, the MPA does not specify a valuation date.
In recent years, the valuation date in Alberta has been the date of the trial which can be uncertain. Many other Canadian provinces use the date the spouses separate as the valuation date.
The report makes a number of recommendations including:
- The MPA should expressly provide that spouses may agree on a valuation date. An agreement will reduce cost and delay, and allow the spouses to pinpoint the end of their economic partnership.
- If spouses cannot agree on a valuation date, matrimonial property should be valued at the date of separation. It fits better with the Divorce Act and other family law statutes which already use the date of separation to mark the end of the relationship. Further, using separation as the default valuation date should facilitate settlement, reduce cost and delay, and allow decisions to be made on the basis of more accurate information.
- Flexibility to respond to changes in the value of matrimonial property that happen after valuation but before division can best be achieved by using section 8 of the MPA.
- To reflect separation as the default valuation date, the list of factors in section 8 should include post-separation changes in the value of matrimonial property and the circumstances of the change.