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Significant New Amendments to the Alberta Rules of Court

Ken Proudman - view Arbitration availability
Barr Picard Law (Alberta. Joined 2017)

While some amendments to the Rules have been announced by the courts and others, there are a few other significant changes that haven't received much attention yet.

You're probably already aware of the Court's enhanced ability to order parties to attend alternative dispute resolution (ADR) through Rule 4.16, and the amendments & new forms to reflect the advent of the Family Property Act (see my Enhanced Statement of Claim precedent).

However, as of May 2020, there are a number of other changes, the most significant of which are:

  • Schedule C costs have all been updated. The threshold for each column has changed, for example the threshold to enter column 2 is now $75,000. All amounts have changed, for example uncontested applications now start at $400 (or $135 if without notice), contested applications start at $675, contested adjournment applications are $200, applications with briefs start at $1350 for half a day, plus $675 for another half-day unless ordered otherwise. Bottom line, don't rely on old Bills of Costs as precedents, and remember those amounts for chambers (or use my Court Notes Memorandum to refresh your memory each time).


  • Mandatory annual exchange of financial disclosure clauses in all child support orders and Divorce Judgments have been expanded, so that shareholders, partners, the self-employed, and beneficiaries of trusts must also provide the information required by section 21(1)(d), (e), (f) and (g) of the Guidelines each year (although not necessarily by June 30th). See it in action at the end of my updated Order Precedent (Comprehensive). I'll post the new clause in the comments as well.

    Technically that also means complying with Cunningham v Seveny, 2017 ABCA 4 each year by providing disclosure of personal and non-arm's-length benefits (maybe even paying their accountant/bookkeeper to prepare a new Business Expense Statement annually). Given the often very time consuming and costly nature of that exercise, I would be surprised if anyone ever does that.

    It'll be interesting to see if courts extend the principles in Goulding v Keck, 2014 ABCA 138 at para 62 to these documents in order to extend support retroactivity all the way back to the order/judgment, given that based on the language it's difficult for non-lawyers to ascertain what's actually required by this paragraph, and Goulding's sometimes-harsh approach was recently softened by the ABCA in McBean v McBean, 2019 ABCA 1 at paras 20-22, 26. I suppose it may depend on the extent of the change, for example if a person starts paying their new partners $500,000 per year.

    Personally, at the end of the clause, I'm going to write in what documents are actually required in brackets. I'm going to add "[for shareholders or the self-employed: financial statements and business expense statements; for partnerships: confirmation of income and draw from, and capital in, the partnership; for trust beneficiaries: trust settlement agreement and financial statements]" to the end of this paragraph.


  • There are now more rules about how Affidavits of Records object to producing documents, set out at Rule 5.8. It's now explicitly stated that expert reports prepared for the dominant purpose of litigation, and records relating to those reports, are not to be set out in the Affidavit of Records (instead the exchange of experts reports process set out at 5.35 must be followed). Form 26 itself hasn't been revised, but to make it easier to remember these rules I updated my Enhanced Affidavit of Records precedent.


  • The deadline to tax a lawyer's account has been extended from 6 months to 1 year after the account is issues, whether taxation is requested by the lawyer or the client. Along with some more minor changes to the taxation process.


  • A couple of Family Law Act forms have had quite a bit added to them: "Statement - Contact" and "Statement - Permission from the Court (to Apply for Contact)".


Huge thanks to Doug Moe, QC of Moe Hannah LLP for letting me know that Schedule C was updated, and to Sierra Yanush of Bell & Stock Family Law LLP for letting Doug know.


1 3 months ago - edited 3 months ago

Ken Proudman - view Arbitration availability
Barr Picard Law (Alberta. Joined 2017)

Corollary Relief Clauses

(Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the following clause must be included in every child support order and should not be changed. This clause applies in addition to any financial disclosure requirements of the Alberta Child Support Recalculation Program.)

10. For as long as there is a "child of the marriage" as defined in the Divorce Act (Canada) [or a "child" as defined in Part 3 of the Family Law Act], the parties shall provide the following information on an annual basis:

(a) on or before June 30 of each year, each party must provide the other party with a complete copy of the party's personal income tax return, any Notice of Assessment or Reassessment from the Canada Revenue Agency for the preceding tax year, and the party's 2 most recent pay stubs. If the party has not filed an income tax return for the preceding year, then the party must, by June 30, provide the other party with copies of the party's T4 slips and all other tax slips and information disclosing any and all sources of income for the preceding tax year;

(b) a party that is a shareholder in a corporation, is self-employed, is a partner in a partnership or is a beneficiary under a trust must also provide the information required by paragraphs 21(1)(d), (e), (f) and (g) of the Federal Child Support Guidelines (SOR/97-175) [or the same provisions of the Alberta Child Support Guidelines (AR 147/2005), as applicable] for the preceding tax year.


2 3 months ago

Ken Proudman - view Arbitration availability
Barr Picard Law (Alberta. Joined 2017)

So that parents actually know what they're supposed to do, I'm going to add "[for shareholders or the self-employed: financial statements and business expense statements; for partnerships: confirmation of income and draw from, and capital in, the partnership; for trust beneficiaries: trust settlement agreement and financial statements]" to the end of this paragraph.

1 3 months ago - edited 3 months ago

Anonymous
(Alberta. Joined 2018)

If, for example, the mother has primary or sole parenting time, and, consequently, she is not required to pay child support, why should she provide her financial disclosure every year? In such situations, is the primary parent exempted from the mandatory clause above?

0 43 days ago

Ken Proudman - view Arbitration availability
Barr Picard Law (Alberta. Joined 2017)

@Anonymous: I've never heard of an exception, presumably because where child support is being paid, section 7 expense proportions can also be reviewed. That said, the remedy for failure to disclose is essentially just potential arrears, so while we can't encourage clients to breach orders, it's probably not catastrophic if they choose to do so and wouldn't have any significant arrears payable. I suspect that it also encourages and reminds payors to provide their information, so that it doesn't seem like a unilateral burden. It's also much simpler to just use the same clause in every order, it's one less thing to determine/negotiate.

0 43 days ago

Kimberley M Ketsa
Kinetic Law (Alberta. Joined 2019)

You're a lifesaver, Ken! Thank you for putting this together.

3 3 months ago

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