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Some people come to us and think that being financially well-off could make the process for filing for divorce and wanting a separation much more straightforward. In reality, that’s often not the case. When a high net-worth couple decides to separate and end their marriage, it can be extremely difficult to untangle their finances from one another – especially if they have multiple assets like stock options, investment properties, real estate, and business interests.
How can a family lawyer assist with high net-worth divorces?
Some people going through a divorce might not want to disclose all of their financial documents, and could try keeping certain assets secret from their spouses. This, we do not want for you. A family lawyer should be able to help get an accurate valuation of your spouse’s total net worth – or property – by examining their financial statements and corporate accounts in detail. Dividing property and assets in a high net worth divorce can have serious tax implications for parties. That’s why you need family lawyers and other experts such as professional accountants, chartered business valuations, and tax lawyers – whom we may hire.
Whether or not a marriage contract exists, we recommend you hire a family lawyer to assist with your divorce. A divorce lawyer can be especially necessary if you expect the divorce to be contested or hostile.
Grounds for high net-worth separation and divorce in Ontario
In Canada, there are three legal grounds for any divorce, high net-worth or not. When applying for a divorce in Ontario, a spouse may seek a divorce based on the grounds of cruelty or adultery, or if they have lived separate and apart for one year. “Separate and apart” can still be in the same house together – we can explain that in more detail when we meet with you.
Common issues in high net-worth separation and divorce
Generally speaking, we tell our clients not to settle too quickly, due to the very high stress level of these divorces. We always recommend that you secure meaningful legal advice – not just from your divorce lawyer, but also for financial planning for the future. Not doing so may impact you greatly, and you don’t want to put your financial well-being at risk.
Another issue we see is when one spouse hides assets. We, as your lawyers, make sure to do the best to uncover all the assets of your ex-spouse and make sure that you get everything to which you are entitled. We also recommend, when hiring a family lawyer, to seek a level of experience on the issues that are relevant to your divorce, especially if you have a high net-worth.
Contact Gelman & Associates today for a consultation
Our legal team at Gelman & Associates would be happy to address any questions you may have about high net-worth divorces in Ontario. We have offices in Aurora, Barrie, Grimsby, Mississauga, North York, Scarborough, Toronto, and Whitby. Contact us today to book your consultation.