Westside Family Law

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Court not the best option for high asset divorce

It is tempting at times to think of the extremely wealthy as existing in a world very different from most Canadians' experience. However, when it comes to divorce, experts in British Columbia and elsewhere agree that the one thing high asset divorce has in common with the separation of a middle class couple is the potential for acrimony. With that said, when millions of dollars in assets are at stake, the wealthy may need to consider certain obstacles when approaching divorce. 

While it is true that those with disposable income may be better-equipped to handle the potential cost of a divorce, it is widely regarded as a good idea for those people to avoid escalating their case to the courts. One expert noted that it means relinquishing a great deal of control over the process -- control that could be maintained if the divorce is approached in a different way. Given that most of Canada's divorces are considered "no fault", going to court could mean an unfair distribution of accumulated wealth. 

Avoiding valuation battles is also a good practice. Instead of arguing over how much a particular asset is worth, couples could benefit from retaining the services of an appraiser who can provide a neutral valuation of most assets. Depending on the province, division of assets can take many forms, so it is a good idea to have a strong sense of how much assets are worth from the outset. 

High asset divorce may seem like a higher-stakes situation than a standard divorce, but some British Columbia residents already know that any divorce can be difficult. This is why seeking out the support of experienced divorce attorneys for both parties is such a useful move. Their expertise can help mitigate acrimony and set the couple on a more direct path to their new single lives. 

Source: The Globe and Mail, "Note to wealthy people considering divorce: Stay out of court", Danielle Boudreau, March 16, 2017

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