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 the division of property. Property that must be divided upon separation includes all assets, joint bank accounts, pensions, property (real estate and other) and debt that the couple acquired over the course of their marriage.
Separating couples should never navigate the challenges of property division on their own. Determining how to distribute property between ex-spouses can be a difficult and technical process with a myriad of legal and financial considerations. This is particularly the case when significant assets or business property are involved.
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, and hidden assets. Additional considerations arise when 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. Additionally, the spouses cannot limit each other’s rights to the home through a domestic or marriage (prenuptial) contract. 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).
Comprehensive Financial & Legal Support in Property Division Matters
Feigenbaum Consulting offers unparalleled assistance to married couples or common-law partners facing property division issues. Mark Feigenbaum has worked in accounting, tax, and management positions and brings this unique perspective to his family law practice. The firm combines this financial and legal knowledge to provide clients with exceptional risk management services and clear, pragmatic advice.
Contact Feigenbaum Consulting for In-Depth, Strategic Property Division Solutions
Feigenbaum Consulting provides multi-disciplinary support to professionals, business owners, and high-net-worth clients in complex property division matters. The firm understands the particular concerns faced by clients after a separation or divorce and provides discreet legal and financial solutions that protect their assets and help them maintain financial stability.
Feigenbaum Consulting is located just outside of Toronto and proudly serves clients in Canada, the United States, and worldwide. To schedule a confidential consultation on your family law matter, please contact the firm online or call (416) 777-8433, toll-free at (877) 275-4792.