A couple of lawyers have asked me whether we need to immediately update all of our pre-nups and cohabitation agreements. The short answer is no, our agreements only need to be revised as of January 1, 2020.
On the Legislative Assembly of Alberta's website, the coming into force date of the new legislation is December 11, 2018, but listed as "with exceptions". I phoned a legislative editor named Michael, who works for the Legislative Counsel of Alberta Justice, to see if there were any additional exceptions placed except what appears in the online version of the Bill. He confirmed that the only exceptions are those that appear in the Bill.
So what does the Bill say? While section 40 of the new Family Property Act makes it look like we need to update agreements right away, section 9 of the actual Bill itself confirms that none of the changes other than the repeal of the Married Women's Act and the updated definition of "child" in the Family Law Act come into force until January 1, 2020.
That means that our precedents will only have to be updated as of January 1, 2020, and because of the transitory provisions, for those who separated before that date, we can still use our old precedents, or there's a mechanism whereby the parties can agree to elect to settle under the new legislation. Because the new legislation won't be in effect until January 1, 2020, you won't want to use the new precedent before January 1, 2020 either.
I'm hoping to post a couple of precedents on FamilyCounsel.ca well before then.
My pleasure! I'm speaking at LESA's Effective Legal Support: Matrimonial Property seminar in March, so I'll definitely be going over some practical changes with legal assistants. I don't know what they have planned for lawyers. Hopefully the CBA puts together a short seminar about the legislation, and then later LESA puts out a more thorough seminar once we have some case law.