Toronto High Net Worth Divorce
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Navigating the rough waters of divorce is rarely a simple process. And going through a divorce when there is a multitude of assets at stake can be especially challenging. The surest path to a fair outcome in a high net-worth divorce is to hire a family lawyer who is accustomed to handling divorces for wealthy couples. With the guidance and support of a divorce lawyer in Toronto experienced in high net worth services, you can ensure that all marital assets are uncovered and fairly distributed.
What is considered a high net-worth divorce?
A high net-worth divorce typically encompasses a multi-million dollar estate. So a divorce involving a couple with an estate valued at 2 million CAD or more would be considered a high net-worth divorce and would likely be in need of specialty services.
What is different about a high net-worth divorce?
High net-worth divorces tend to involve a greater degree of complexity because they involve the division of numerous high-dollar properties or assets. They often include multiple trusts, stocks, and letters of intent that reference valuable possessions. Here are some factors that often come into play with high net-worth divorces.
- Age differences: Because it can take years or decades to accumulate millions of dollars of assets, high-net-worth services are generally needed by a disproportionate number of middle-aged and older couples.
- Offshore assets: A greater number of high net-worth married couples own property overseas and other offshore assets. One or both spouses may also be considered residents of two countries, which can further complicate divorce proceedings.
- Business ownership: High net-worth divorces are more likely than the average divorce to involve ownership of a family business. Also, one or more spouses are more apt to have partial or full ownership of other companies.
- Contracts and prenuptial agreements: People who have accumulated sizable financial assets prior to marriage are more likely to initiate a marriage contract or a prenuptial agreement.
What are some common high net-worth divorce mistakes?
“Under Canadian law, each spouse is entitled to half of the equity that’s accumulated during the marriage in the property that was used as the family home. This means that even if only one spouse is on the title or only one spouse holds the mortgage, both parties have a claim to the home’s equity.” – Romana King, MoneySense
Mortgages, investments, businesses, and property must be fairly distributed between two spouses. Unfortunately, there are some common errors that can stand in the way of a fair divorce outcome. Here are four mistakes people make when going through a high net-worth divorce.
1) Attempting to hide assets from a spouse
Some people deliberately try to hide information about their assets from their spouse in order to maintain control of a property, investment, or cash account. Shielding a spouse and legal representatives from assets contradicts the Family Law Act, which dictates that spouses must disclose all their assets during divorce proceedings.
2) Failure to thoroughly examine a spouse’s assets
Even if two spouses have a cordial and trusted relationship, it’s still important to make sure that every asset is considered before a settlement is finalized. Some spouses may attempt to shield some assets during a divorce while some people have so many assets they may simply overlook a piece of property or an aged account.
3) Agreeing to a settlement offer too quickly
No one enjoys the high level of stress that can accompany a divorce. Unfortunately, the desire to escape divorce proceedings as soon as possible can lead to hasty decisions and an outcome that is unfair to one of the spouses involved. It’s always best to take time to carefully review a settlement offer in conjunction with all marital assets. Ideally, a family lawyer who works with high net-worth clients should review all offers prior to their acceptance.
4) Failure to seek an experienced high net-worth divorce lawyer
The single biggest mistake couples make is to ignore the value of a skilled high net-worth divorce lawyer. Choosing a lawyer who specializes in services for high net-worth couples is the best step you can take to avoid the pitfalls above. More importantly, you can rest assured knowing you have taken the necessary steps to make sure your settlement is fair.
Finding the right Toronto high net-worth divorce lawyer for you and your family
Toronto is home to roughly half of Ontario’s lawyers, providing residents with plenty of legal resources. However, the key to a positive outcome when high net-worth services are needed is to choose a lawyer with a proven track record of success handling divorces for asset-rich couples.
Our team is accustomed to the unique challenges that accompany high net-worth divorces, and our goal is to make sure that you are treated fairly.
Ready to take the first step? — Schedule a consultation today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is considered high-net-worth individual?
For the purposes of defining who should seek out a family lawyer experienced in high net worth services, it is generally considered that households with multi-millions in assets are high net worth individuals.
When should I first contact a high net worth divorce lawyer in Toronto?
You should contact a high net worth divorce lawyer as soon as you think you may need one! No matter where you are in the divorce process, a lawyer will be able to help. This is particularly important for high net worth families and individuals because there is more on the line.
How do I protect my assets in a divorce?
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your assets during divorce proceedings is to work with a lawyer who has specific experience with high net worth clients. High net worth divorces have particular challenges, and in order to make sure the asset distribution is fair, you want to make sure your lawyer has the necessary experience dealing with individuals and families who have considerable assets to their name.