The importance of the exchange of proper financial information when determining a settlement for separating couples has been reinforced again by the Alberta Court of Appeal. In the case of Smith v. Smith, 2016 ABCA 376, the following principles were identified and emphasized:
1. “The foundation of family law rests on parties making full disclosure for the purpose of settlement or trial.”
2. “…there is a duty to make full and honest disclosure and a deliberate failure to disclose all relevant financial information may result in judicial intervention if the negotiated settlement is substantially at variance from the objectives of the legislation.”
3. “The purpose of matrimonial property legislation across the country is to fairly and equitably distribute the assets of the parties on dissolution of a marriage. Full and frank financial disclosure is fundamental to the court’s exercise of the jurisdiction granted in those statutes. Ignoring that requirement corrodes the process, the judicial decisions, and ultimately confidence in the rule of law. It ought not to be countenanced. The court has powers and sanctions to rectify the situation and should resort to them when necessary. Parties who fail to disclose, thereby misleading their spouses and the court, do so at their peril. Most assuredly they should not be rewarded for having done so.”
It is clear in both Alberta and in British Columbia that failure to provide accurate and complete financial information to your spouse puts at risk any agreement reached without that information. Let us help you negotiate and finalize an agreement that is going to withstand such scrutiny.