The Family Law Act of B.C. now requires spouses to jointly retain one expert to determine all financial issues. This includes real estate appraisers, business valuators and pension valuators.
The reason for this is that in the past each spouse retained their own valuators and the cost became prohibitive. Also judges were faced with having to choose between the two valuations each of which were often biased in favour of the party who retained them.
Valuators that are retained jointly have an obligation under Rule 13-2 of the B.C. Supreme Court Rules to do the following:
(1) In giving an opinion to the court, an expert appointed under this Part by one or more parties or by the court has a duty to assist the court and is not to be an advocate for any party.
(2)If an expert is appointed under this Part by one or more parties or by the court, the expert must, in any report he or she prepares under this Part, certify that he or she
(a) is aware of the duty referred to in subrule (1),
(b) has made the report in conformity with that duty, and
(c) will, if called on to give oral or written testimony, give that testimony in conformity with that duty.
If either party disagrees with the joint valuation they are at liberty to order and pay for a second valuation to rebut the joint one.
Deborah A. Todd