If you have been following the “Matrimonial Matters” blog written by my two colleagues (Cathy and Evelyn), you will see a general pattern with respect to the explanation of each individual section of Form 13.1 – Financial Statement.
While this document is considered to be one of the most important documents with respect to family law, it also is the most tedious as well as intimidating documents to our clients. First and foremost we point out to our clients, the importance of this document and the fact that we are available to assist with the completion of the financial statement. We also point out that this document is a sworn document and is no different then swearing an affidavit. By signing this document in the form you prepare, you are swearing that all of the contents are true to the best of your knowledge. If at some point it comes to the attention of your lawyer or a Judge that you knowingly did not disclosure certain assets, your credibility will be completely destroyed and this will drastically change the outcome of your file.
Part 4 (c) – This section relates to bank accounts, savings, securities and pensions. The form itself offers three different columns. The first column is the “date of marriage”, the second column is the “valuation date”. The valuation date is also known as the “separation date” and the third and final column is the “current value”.
All bank accounts, savings, securities and pensions must be listed in this section, even if you hold the account in trust for a child or elderly or incapacitated person. If your name is on the account, it must be listed. If the account is held jointly then only 50% of the value of the account is noted. If an account is in your name alone then the entire amount is listed in the relevant columns. If accounts were opened prior to your marriage and are still in existence at separation or after, then all three columns should be completed together with the relevant back up documentation. It is very important to have the back up documentation to prove your claim as to the assets you held at the various times. If you have opened a new bank account after separation, it also must be disclosed and the value entered in the “current value” column. Again the relevant back up documentation is required to prove your claim. Remember it is up to you to prove your assets. An asset claimed with no back up documentation is more than likely going to be an asset which will not be included in your net family property. The same idea applies to your debts and liabilities.
With respect to education accounts held in your name in trust for your children, we disclose these accounts in the description section of Section 4(c) but do not include the value in any of the relevant columns. We will disclose the value, but the value should not form part of the net family property as ideally the children will be benefiting from this asset.
With respect to pensions, all pensions should be valued by a pension valuator. It should also be noted in the “debt” section – which we will be speaking about in a later blog, the contingent tax liability associated with the pension should be applied in the the debt section of the financial statement.
Stay tuned for a later blog on Sections 5, 6 & 7 of the Financial Statement – Debts & Liabilities.