Pursuant to the Family Law Act all family property and debt owed by the spouses at the date of separation is divided equally. Section 87 of the Family Law Act states that the valuation date is not the date of separation but the date of an agreement or trial.


87  Unless an agreement or order provides otherwise and except in relation to a division of family property under Part 6, (Pension Division)

(a) the value of family property must be based on its fair market value, and

(b) the value of family property and family debt must be determined as of the date

(i)   an agreement dividing the family property and family debt is made, or

(ii)   of the hearing before the court respecting the division of property and family debt.


In order to determine the value of family property it is common for the spouses to obtain expert reports such as real property appraisals, business valuations or actuarial reports. All of these experts must now be retained jointly by the spouses pursuant to Rule 13-3(2) of the Family Rules of Court.


If a joint valuation is obtained and one of the spouses believes it does not accurately reflect the value of the property that spouse may then obtain a second valuation and use it to dispute the original joint valuation. That spouse will be responsible to pay for the second valuation themselves.


Appraisals of real property typically range from $500 to $1,000 for an appraisal of a family home to in excess of $2,000 for a commercial property.


A business valuation will be in excess of $5,000 to produce a verbal report for a simple business and will be much more if a written report is required. An actuary will typically charge $800 to $1,000 to give a verbal valuation of a pension.


Deborah A. Todd
Deborah A. Todd