Toronto Divorce Lawyer Advising High-Net-Worth Clients on Property Division Matters
Following a separation or divorce, one of the most challenging issues for ex-partners to address is division of property. Property that must be divided upon the breakdown of a relationship (marriage or common-law relationship) includes all assets, joint bank accounts, pensions, property (real estate and other) and debt that the couple acquired over the course of their relationship. This can be a difficult and technical process, both legally and financially, particularly where significant assets or business property is involved.
If you are planning to separate, or have already begun the process, it is crucial to obtain advice from a family lawyer with a deep and thorough understanding of the ins-and-outs of property division. Separating couples should never navigate the challenges of property division on their own.
Married Couples and Property Division: Equalization
Under Ontario’s Family Law Act, all property and assets acquired by either spouse over the course of the marriage (i.e. between the date of marriage and the separation date) must be shared equally upon separation. This sharing of assets is known as “equalization”.
While this may seem like a straightforward process, it often becomes rapidly complicated by factors such as multiple properties (including properties outside of Canada), inheritances and other gifts from family members, hidden assets, as well as other factors. Property division is also complicated where one or both spouses own a business.
Married Couples and Property Division: The Matrimonial Home
The matrimonial home (i.e. the family home where the spouses lived on the day of separation) receives special consideration during the division of property process. Regardless of who the owner of the property was going into the marriage, or whose name is on the title, both spouses have an equal right of possession to the family home. This means that the home cannot be sold by one spouse without approval from the other spouse, and that the spouses cannot limit one another’s rights to the home through a prenuptial agreement. It is important to note that rights to a matrimonial home apply only to married couples, and not to common-law couples.
Common-Law Couples and Property Division
Common-law couples are not covered by the equalization provisions in the Family Law Act. As such, in the event of a breakdown in a relationship, the property rights of common-law couples are much different than those of married couples. However, while a common-law spouse is not entitled to an equalization payment, they may be entitled to compensation for direct or indirect contributions to property that a spouse owns. This may include contributions made to the home (e.g. helping to pay the mortgage, paying for renovations or repairs) or a business (e.g. working for a partner’s business).
How Can Mark Feigenbaum Help
Whether you were in a marriage or in a common-law relationship that has ended or is ending, the division of any property you shared with your spouse can be complicated and will require guidance and advice from a family lawyer with extensive accounting and tax law experience, especially where hidden assets may be a concern. Help from such a professional is the best way to protect yourself during this uncertain time. Mark Feigenbaum has worked in accounting, tax, and management positions and brings this unique perspective to his family law practice. Mark combines this tax and business knowledge with his experience advising clients on family law matters to provide exceptional risk management and clear, pragmatic legal advice.
Contact Mark Feigenbaum for Strategic Advice and Guidance on Property Division Following Separation or Divorce
Speak to Mark Feigenbaum today for effective, knowledgeable, strategic guidance and representation throughout your family law dispute. Contact Mark online or call him at (905) 695-1269 or toll-free at (877) 275-4792 to book a consultation.