Dissolving your marriage is substantially more complex when you have a high net worth. Protecting profitable business ventures and family properties while ensuring a fair equalization process is challenging. It requires help from a divorce legal professional with substantial tax, business, and estate planning experience and access to a robust network of experts.
A Kawartha Lakes high-asset divorce lawyer like Paul Riley has the knowledge and skills to manage a divorce implicating enormous financial stakes. Committed to superior client support, we are available 24/7 to respond to questions and concerns.
Ontario legislation requires a divorcing couple to equalize the benefits they gained through the marriage. Each spouse calculates their net worth as of the date of marriage and the date of separation, and the spouse who realized more gains pays the other to equalize the benefit.
When one or both parties have substantial assets upon entering the marriage, they often enter a premarital agreement. In doing so, they protect specific assets from consideration as marital property and exclude them from equalization calculation. In addition, property such as gifts and inheritances do not count as marital property subject to equalization. Legal strategies exist to overturn premarital agreements and claim a share of otherwise separate property, and a skilled high-asset divorce lawyer in Kawartha Lakes could pursue or defend against such claims.
A possible complication of marital asset separation is that increases in the value of a separate property could count toward a marital asset. For example, if you owned a business when you married, the value of the business at the time of marriage would be your separate property. Its appreciation in value over the course of the marriage could be a marital asset, and your spouse could demand a share.
Sometimes, you or your ex-partner may try to shield assets from disclosure. Both parties have a legal and ethical obligation to fully disclose all debts and holdings fully, yet attempting to hide assets is a common practice. A savvy divorce professional like Paul Riley could utilize Chartered Professional Accountants with the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) designation to track assets and ensure complete disclosure.
Valuation of assets can be challenging in a high net-worth divorce, as you and your spouse often have diverse holdings. Canadian couples often hold foreign assets, so rates of exchange and conversion dates are critical factors to consider. Similarly, expert assistance is required for accurately assessing the value of pensions, stock holdings, interests in ongoing businesses, and collections such as art or antiques.
According to the Family Law Act s.19, spouses have equal possessory rights to the matrimonial home, regardless of whether one party brought the home into the marriage or other considerations. Determining how to handle issues regarding the marital home is often fraught in high net-worth divorces because the law allows a family to have multiple matrimonial homes. Any residence a couple occupies together could be considered a marital home.
A couple with a primary suburban residence, pied-à-terre in the city, ski chalet, country home, or lake cottage could face substantial challenges in dividing the rights to their properties. If your properties include a residence on a working farm, another layer of complexity is added, although the law protects the farm business.
If properties have been in a spouse’s family for decades and have significant sentimental value, there is added complexity. Maintaining those properties within the family heritage but allowing the other spouse reasonable compensation for their interest requires a Kawartha Lakes divorce legal practitioner to use their network of chartered appraisers, real estate brokers, and other experts.
High-net-worth couples are often near or past retirement age, which triggers some unique needs when they divorce. Adequate consideration must be given to a spouse’s age, health, long-term care planning, and the needs of adult children and obligations toward them. Meticulous tax planning is essential in all divorces but particularly critical in a grey divorce because the parties may have limited opportunities to earn post-divorce.
Determining spousal support can be contentious, especially if one spouse sacrificed a career to care for a home and children and has little independent earning power. A high-asset divorce lawyer in Kawartha Lakes might arrange for spousal support to be paid in a lump sum or demand a life insurance policy to ensure adequate funds are available to support the dependent spouse’s accustomed living style.
Adequate estate planning is crucial when an older couple divorces. Making necessary changes to wills and trusts and reviewing beneficiary designations is an essential but often overlooked aspect of divorce.
Marriage dissolution can be complicated and emotionally challenging. Even couples who intend to part amicably can become recalcitrant and bitter if they feel the other is claiming too much or offering too little.
Our Kawartha Lakes high-asset divorce lawyers have substantial experience in unraveling complex financial relationships during a divorce and can keep negotiations professional when emotions are messy. You can ask questions or raise concerns anytime and expect a prompt response at The Riley Divorce & Family Law Firm. Call today to get started.
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