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 5 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 sizeable 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.

Do’s and Don’ts While Going Through High Net Divorce in Ontario

Going through a divorce is difficult, and the process is even more complicated for high-net-worth families. With so much at stake, there are some do’s and don’ts to remember throughout the process. This blog post will discuss what you should and shouldn’t do to protect your rights during a high-net worth divorce in Ontario.

Do: Seek Professional Help

Going through a high-net-worth divorce in Ontario is an emotional and complex process. To protect your best interests, seek professional help from an experienced Ontario divorce lawyer. A qualified divorce lawyer provides crucial information on the process, the types of divorces, the division of assets, and other details. A lawyer also offers guidance and advice to help you navigate the process in the most effective and efficient way.

Do: Keep Emotions in Check

Remain level-headed and keep emotions in check throughout your divorce to ensure decisions are made with a clear head. Try to look at the situation logically and objectively and focus on the long-term outcome rather than letting emotions take control.

Do: Cooperate with Your Spouse

Keep an open mind and cooperate with your spouse throughout the process. Take the high road, and remember that the goal is reaching an agreement that works for everyone. Staying unbiased and communicating effectively with your spouse helps resolve issues faster. Working together during this time also makes the process smoother and less stressful for everyone involved.

Do: Consider Mediation or Negotiating 

When going through a high-net-worth divorce in Ontario, if you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement on major issues, consider whether mediation could help. In mediation, a neutral third party will learn about each side’s desires and goals for the divorce. After an initial meeting with all parties, the mediator will separate the spouses and work back and forth, making suggestions for compromise that would help both parties achieve their goals and achieve the best outcome from the divorce.

Don’t: Post About the Divorce on Social Media

Keep all details and drama off social media during your Ontario divorce. Posting pictures of expensive purchases of new romantic interests can have legal consequences. It’s common for lawyers to search social media for information they could use to bolster their clients’ cases. Therefore, it’s best to keep personal matters private and away from public view.

Don’t: Neglect Your Financial Planning

Remember that you’ll need a financial plan after the divorce. Consult professionals, such as a lawyer and a financial advisor, to help you devise a plan to meet your financial goals and objectives. Your new financial plan should take your income, expenses, and investment goals into account. 

Don’t: Make Major Life Decisions

When going through a high-net-worth divorce in Ontario, consult a lawyer before making any major life decisions, including changing bank accounts, making large purchases, or changing jobs. Making such decisions may have significant consequences, and consulting a lawyer helps ensure you make informed decisions.

Don’t: Hide Assets

Hiding assets during a divorce is illegal and has serious legal ramifications. All assets must be disclosed during the divorce proceedings to ensure both parties receive a fair settlement.

Speak With an Ontario Divorce Lawyer

M&Co Law is an experienced divorce law firm in Toronto with knowledgeable lawyers well-trained in the nuances of Ontario family law. Contact us today to discuss your situation and learn how we can help you through this difficult time.

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.