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Calgary Alberta Family Lawyers Financial Disclosure is a key component to enabling proper Calgary family law settlements and Court ordered financial resolutions. So what is Calgary Alberta Family Lawyers Financial Disclosure? In today’s blog senior Calgary Alberta Family Lawyers Financial Disclosure lawyer Peter Graburn explains this key area of family law. MacLean Law is a 4 time winner as Vancouver’s Best Family Lawyers and we bring our award winning approach to our Calgary office. Click here.

Table of Contents

    1. Financial Disclosure in Calgary Family Law
    2. Records the parties must disclose for financial disclosure
    3. Financial disclosure is the general rule in settling family disputes in Alberta


Full disclosure of financial information is a fundamental principle of family law in Calgary, Alberta. Whether dealing with child support, spousal support or division of matrimonial property (or all three), a full and accurate disclosure of all income, assets and debts (unless there is a compelling reason not to disclose it) is an essential part of a fair and final resolution of matters for the parties and their children.

Calgary Alberta Family Lawyers Financial Disclosure
Calgary Alberta Family Lawyers Financial Disclosure, Peter Graburn

The courts have held that parties involved in family law disputes have an obligation to provide full and honest information about their incomes and assets. The Supreme Court of Canada re-enforced the principle of full financial disclosure in family law matters in the 2009 case of Rick v. Brandsema, finding that parties have a duty to make full and honest disclosure of all their relevant financial information to ensure that negotiations between separating couples are free from “informational exploitation”.  Failure to exchange full and complete financial disclosure may affect the validity and enforceability of any separation agreement reached between the parties.

Records the parties must disclose for financial disclosure

But what are the actual financial documents and records the parties must disclose to each other in the course of resolving their family law matters?

Fortunately, both the federal (Divorce Act) and provincial (Family Law Act) legislation set out the most basic financial documentation required to be produced in this situation, including:

● 3 years’ Income Tax Returns;

● 3 years’ Notices of Assessment;

● 3 most recent pay-stubs;

● Statement of any EI, social assistance, pension, Workers’ Compensation, disability or dividend payments;

● Statement of any student funding;

● Self-employment income;

● Partnership income, draws and capital;

● 3 most recent corporate financial statements;

● Section 7 expenses (ie. childcare, health-related, school, extra-curricular expenses, etc.);

● Trust agreements and financial statements;

● 6 months’ bank statements;

● 6 months’ credit card statements;

● a monthly budget of expenses;

● a sworn statement of all income, assets and debts;

● a statement for all investments, pensions, etc., and;

● any exemptions from matrimonial property being claimed.

How Much Calgary Alberta Family Lawyers Financial Disclosure is Enough?

But to what extent do the details of this most basic financial information have to be provided?

The Alberta Courts have issued a number of decisions in this regard. In 2009, in the case of Brown v. Silvera, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench stated that parties should not have to go on a scavenger hunt to ascertain family assets. It reiterated the SCC position that parties have a positive obligation to provide all relevant and necessary financial information to determine the issues at hand, even if that information is not specifically requested – concealing or misrepresenting assets is not acceptable, and there are steps that can be taken to obtain the necessary financial information if it is not voluntarily produced (ie. Questioning, Court advice and directions, etc.).

Furthermore, in the 2017 case of Cunningham v. Seveny, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that (at least in regard to financial disclosure for determining annual income for child support purposes), those who earned income through self-employment or closely-held corporations not only had to produce details of that income (ie. statements of all payments and benefits to that person), but also had an obligation to provide a reasonable explanationfor all expense deductions from income sufficient to allow the other party to determine the reasonableness of those deductions. Does this mean every minor expense must be disclosed and fully explained / justified? No. At para. 35, the Court stated:

“Simply put, parties ought not to be put to time-wasting, money-draining line-by-line justifications of every dollar that has been spent.  In keeping with the foundational rules, pre-trial disclosure must not become a process that wholly consumes the very parental resources that otherwise would be available for child support.  And, parties must bear in mind that supervising courts will continue to take a very dim view of litigation antics or abuses that detract from, or thwart, the overarching objectives of child support legislation, the foundational rules and disclosure obligations.”

Financial disclosure is the general rule in settling family disputes in Alberta

Full financial disclosure is the general rule in settling family disputes in Alberta. It allows for honesty and transparency regarding finances, and saves both parties time and money in having to force financial disclosure through further court proceedings.

But how do you prevent your ex-spouse from turning the financial disclosure process into a ‘which-hunt’ to produce every minor expense (and a full explanation and justification for that expense) that they may never accept as a reasonable deduction from income? Calgary Financial Disclosure Lawyers can assist their clients to produce financial disclosure that is necessary and relevant to settle their family law disputes, and prevent them from being drawn into unnecessary “litigation antics or abuses” in the financial disclosure process.

Call Our Calgary Alberta Family Lawyers Financial Disclosure team today at 403-444-5503.