Kim Anderson, K.C. and Curtis Clavelle present at the Saskatchewan Regional Parks Association Fall Convention

willemien-kruger-lawyer-robertson-stromberg
willemien-kruger-lawyer-robertson-stromberg

Join Kim Anderson, K.C. and Curtis Clavelle at the Saskatchewan Regional Parks Association Annual Convention where they will be presenting on the tax assessment and collection process in relation to cabins, public docks and walkways. In addition, they will discuss cabin rentals within Regional Parks.

All Regional Parks are operated by volunteer boards. The Saskatchewan Regional Parks Association provides support to accredited regional parks across Saskatchewan. For more information about the Saskatchewan Regional Parks Association click here.

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Tiffany Paulsen, K.C. and Curtis Clavelle present at PATHS Conference 2022

willemien-kruger-lawyer-robertson-stromberg
willemien-kruger-lawyer-robertson-stromberg

Tiffany Paulsen, K.C. and Curtis Clavelle will host a breakout workshop titled, The Divorce Act Amendments in Practice: Creating Meaningful Change? at this year’s PATHS Conference.

PATHS’ mission is to support and collaborate with member agencies and others to address, prevent, and ultimately eliminate intimate partner and family violence in Saskatchewan.

For tickets to this year’s conference, click on the link below.

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Exemptions when Dividing Family Property: What You Need to Know

Many twists and turns are involved when dividing family property following a separation. There are special rules for dividing the family home, equitable claims that can be made, and many issues to consider. One such issue which can add complexity is exemption claims.

Exemptions can be claimed for items owned before marriage or before you became common-law spouses. Section 23 of The Family Property Act (Saskatchewan) provides for this. If you are eligible to claim an exemption, it will mean the value of that property is not subject to division (i.e. you will not have to share the value of that property with your spouse upon separation).

Here are six things you need to know about exemption claims:

  1. The definition of family property is broad under the Act. Examples of family property include items such as investments, bank accounts, land, personal property, etc. Generally, family property can be claimed as exempt if owned before the relationship.
  2. There are certain items that cannot be claimed as exempt. These include the family home and household goods which, generally, refers to property that is used for transportation (vehicles), household use (furniture, appliances, décor, etc.), and recreational use, but does not include antiques, artwork, jewelry, or anything used in a business or hobby.
  1. This means that if you owned a house prior to the relationship which your spouse moved into, in the vast majority of cases, you will be unable to claim an exemption for the house and it is presumptively equally divisible.
  2. Likewise, if you owned furniture before the relationship which you moved into your spouse’s house, you cannot claim it as exempt since it would be considered household goods.
  1. The value which can be claimed as exempt is limited to the fair market value of the property at the start of the relationship (the value at the date you are married or become common-law spouses). This means that, if the property grows in value over the course of the relationship, your spouse is, generally, entitled to share in that growth of value.  There are certain exceptions to this rule which will not be covered in this article.
  1. For example, if you owned an investment at the date of marriage and it grows by $50,000 over the course of the marriage, your spouse is entitled to share in that $50,000 growth in value.
  1. The exemption claim can be traced through the property.
  1. For example, if you were to cash in an investment worth $50,000 at the date of marriage and purchased artwork with it, the value of the artwork would be exempt up to the $50,000. Any increases in value over $50,000 over the course of the relationship would be shareable. 
  2. If you instead purchased a vehicle used for everyday driving, you would lose the exemption since that vehicle would be considered a household good.
  1. The fair market value of shares in a corporation as of the date of marriage/common-law is exempt. Any increase in value of the shares over the course of the relationship is, generally, shareable by your spouse.
  2. There are circumstances where an exemption claim will not be allowed if the Court finds that allowing the exemption would be unfair and inequitable. For example, if the property declines in value over the course of the relationship, it is generally unfair to allow the full amount of the exemption.

This article is intended to provide legal information only, not legal advice.  Dividing family property can be quite complicated. It is recommended that you seek the advice of a lawyer when considering the division of family property.

For further information, please contact:

Curtis P. Clavelle
Direct: 306-933-1341
Email: [email protected]

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What You Need to Know About New Assisted Reproduction Laws

The Children’s Law Act, 2020 has recently come into place in Saskatchewan. This has updated the laws relating to decision-making and parenting time of children.  However, this article focuses on the changes made to assisted reproduction in Saskatchewan.

The new updates are a welcome change, revising our archaic former act. Under the old act I had clients attend clinics in British Columbia so that the surrogacy agreements could be governed by  British Columbia laws.  As an aside, there is also federal legislation and regulations dealing with assisted reproduction.

Here are nine things you need to know about the new Act:

  1. Assisted reproduction is broadly defined as a method of conceiving other than by sexual intercourse.
  2. The new Act is more inclusive, removing references to “mother” and “father” and instead referring to “parents” only. It further contemplates a variety of parental arrangements and agreements which can be made.
  3. In order to qualify as a surrogate, the person carrying the child must have the intention, at the time of conception, to relinquish parental rights to one or more other persons.
  1. This makes it vital that a surrogacy agreement is entered prior to conception which clearly specifies the surrogate’s intention to relinquish parental rights. All parties must also receive independent legal advice.
  2. A surrogate is not considered a birth parent where they have relinquished entitlement to parentage pursuant to the Act (more on this in part 7 below). If the surrogate has not relinquished entitlement, they will be presumed to be the parent of the child.
  1. A sperm donor is not recognized to be the parent of a child conceived through insemination. Therefore, if a sperm donor intends to be the parent of the child, a parentage agreement would be required. Oddly, the Act is silent in this regard respecting ova donors.
  2. If the birth parent of a child conceived through assisted reproduction, not including a surrogate, has a spouse at the time of conception, that spouse is automatically recognized to be a parent of the child, unless the spouse does not consent to be a parent of the child.
  3. Where there is an agreement specifying the parentage of a child, not including a surrogacy agreement (e. there is an ova or sperm donation agreement in place), upon the child’s birth, they are deemed to be the child of the intended parents under the agreement.
  4. However, for surrogates, not only must there be a surrogacy agreement in place prior to conception, the surrogate must also relinquish their entitlement to parentage of the child in the specified form after birth. This cannot take place earlier than three days after birth.  Presumably, this is to protect the surrogate and provide them a final chance to claim parental rights, although it certainly complicates things for the intended parents and could lead to messy situations.  The parents must then apply for an order declaring them to be the parents of the child, which must be made before the child is 90 days old.
  1. If the surrogate refuses to relinquish parental rights, the intended parents can apply to the court for an order declaring parentage.
  1. Surrogacy agreements are not enforceable at law, but can be used as evidence of a person’s intention to be the parent of the child, and the surrogate’s intention to not be a parent of the child.
  2. In determining bloodlines, if the person(s) who donated sperm, ova, or an embryo had no intention at the time of conception to be a parent of the child, they are not considered a blood relation to the child. For example, this would mean the child would be ineligible to inherit from the donor if they died without a Will in place.

This article is intended to provide legal information only, not legal advice.  Assisted reproduction matters can be quite complicated, and can lead to unintended results if not completed properly.  It is recommended you seek the advice of a lawyer when considering entering such an agreement and exploring your options.

For further information, please contact:

Curtis P. Clavelle
Direct: 306-933-1341
Email: [email protected]

How are lawyers involved when purchasing a home?

For many first time home buyers, purchasing a home can take a lot more time and effort than anticipated.  Finding a home is hard enough, but what needs to be completed afterward can be confusing and time-consuming.

This article will discuss the steps involved in completing a real-estate transaction after a deal has been reached, and things to bear in mind.

After your offer is accepted on a home, you need a lawyer to ensure all necessary paperwork is completed prior to your possession day.  You do not want to be a purchaser scrambling the day before possession to meet the requirements of your lender.

Concurrent or prior to making an offer on a home, you will usually deal with a mortgage broker or bank directly to obtain a mortgage. Once your financing is in place, the following is a list of the steps and documents involved leading up to possession day from a legal perspective:

  • Confirmation of financing and mortgage instructions from the lender must be provided to the lawyer. If you are dealing through a mortgage broker, the lawyer and mortgage broker will usually work together to ensure instructions are received. If not, you will need to follow up with the lender to have mortgage instructions sent to your lawyer.
  • Confirmation that adequate insurance is in place for the home on your possession day. This is always required by the lender, or else mortgage funds will not be advanced.
  • An estoppel certificate is required if the property is a condominium.
  • Once the lawyer receives the mortgage instructions, the mortgage and all required paperwork is prepared. Bear in mind that this takes time to do i.e. the lawyer will need the mortgage instructions at least several days prior to the possession date, ideally a week or more.
  • The lawyer then determines the “cash to mortgage”. This is the amount of funds over and above the mortgage you will have to pay for the home, legal fees, property taxes, land title fees to transfer title, Canada Mortgage and Housing insurance premiums (if applicable), etc.
  • A component of “cash to mortgage” is interest that will be paid to the seller. Interest generally must be paid on any purchase where a mortgage registered and the sale agreement provides for the same. On the possession date of your new home, your lawyer will have the “cash to mortgage” but he/she will not yet have the mortgage funds. The mortgage funds cannot be requisitioned until the title has registered in your name. As a result, most real estate agreements require the purchaser to pay the lender interest for the short time period when the seller does not have the sale proceeds in their entirety. Therefore, you pay interest on the amount they are owed during the first few days that you have possession. This does not result in double payment of interest, as interest does not accrue on your mortgage until it is registered.
  • You then meet with the lawyer to sign all requisite documents and provide the cash to mortgage to the lawyer. You will have to bring identification, a certified cheque/bank draft for the cash to mortgage, and banking information for property taxes and mortgage payments and proof of insurance.  The lawyer handles registering you for monthly tax installment payments to come directly from your account, interest free, if the municipality you are purchasing in offers such a program.  However, there are certain instances where property taxes must be paid to the mortgage company, who then pays the taxes on your behalf.
  • The lawyer then transmits the cash to mortgage to the seller’s lawyer. Once the cash to mortgage is received by the seller’s lawyer, you are generally good to go for possession day.
  • The lawyer then registers the transfer of title. Once title issues in your name, the lawyer requests the mortgage funds, which are then provided to the seller’s lawyer. This largely completes the transaction.

As you can see, it takes some time to ensure all the pieces are in place before you can take possession of your new home.  It is important to give yourself adequate time prior to possession day to ensure these things are complete, or else you risk possession day being pushed back or losing your deposit for failing to complete the transaction as agreed

For further information, please contact:

Curtis P. Clavelle
Direct: 306-933-1341
Email: [email protected]

Whether it’s personal or business, we handle cases ranging from wills to overseeing complex business deals, and everything in between. Our success comes as a result of our collective effort. Combining the experience of your lawyer together with the resources of our team, you can put your trust in us to handle your case with confidence.

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