High net worth divorces require expert assistance from experienced family lawyers. The issues raised by complex asset profiles need sophisticated solutions to ensure that the divorce doesn’t end in disaster.
We have helped some of Alberta’s most prominent individuals navigate their divorce claims. We understand that every high net worth divorce case is a high-stakes case with a lot on the line. We take the time to understand your goals, and work hard to help you achieve them.
While we advise our clients to negotiate wherever and whenever possible, we are not afraid to litigate. We go into every case and prepare as if we’ll have to take the matter all the way to trial. In short: we’re fellow professionals, and you can trust us to get the job done right.
Protecting Farms and Cattle Ranches
Ranches and farms present special challenges during a divorce. Farm equipment, livestock, and land are all usually up for grabs as marital assets.
Both spouses are usually shareholders in the business, or have worked within the business. Customers may deal more with one spouse while the other may have a better sense of how to extract value from the ranch. Even valuing the ranch itself presents unique challenges, and not all of the assets are particularly liquid.
Dividing these assets up incorrectly can mean crippling the ranch and destroying the business. It takes sophisticated solutions to make sure the ranch can survive the divorce. Fortunately, we’ve got extensive experience in the farm and ranch industries, and have helped numerous Albertans save their ranches after the dissolution of the marital relationship.
Divorce for Oil & Gas Executives
Contentious divorce battles can drag an entire company into the fray unless you work closely with a lawyer who understands both your business and the issues you face as a divorcing executive. This is especially true if your spouse ever worked for the company or played a major role in any of its successes.
We’ve also seen cases where the client’s status as an executive has vastly complicated how the court calculates their income, inflating both child support and spousal support figures. We work with you, side by side, to ensure that you are not disadvantaged as you seek to negotiate maintenance payments.
Divorce for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners
Want to retain control of the business you built from the ground up? Divorce could mean ceding some part of your business to your ex unless the division of property is handled very carefully.
Our team has an extensive background in business law in addition to family law. This allows us to create solutions that help you protect your company throughout the divorce process.
Divorce for Property Investors
If you’ve invested in property here in the Calgary area then you’ll want divorce lawyers who have a background in real estate law in addition to family law. That’s exactly what you’ll find here at Merchant Law. Our team understands what it will take to to help you make the most of your investments.
Property investments offer some of the biggest tax consequences when handled incorrectly. We work closely with you to ensure that you won’t be disadvantaged when it’s time to make your report to the CRA.
Insure Your Income is Calculated Fairly
High net worth earners can earn pre-tax income through their corporations, earn large end of year bonuses, deduct significant expenses from business income, or enjoy high end company perquisites such as a car allowance or expense allowance that may be treated as a form of income. We also see issues of phantom income: income that appears on a tax return but doesn’t end up in a bank account, which happens to shareholders a great deal.
This means that in many cases income is not as straightforward as what comes home on the paycheck. In some cases judges will impute, or assign, an income that is much higher than a high net worth earner’s actual monthly cash flow as a result.
This can make child support or spousal support into undue, unpayable burdens. When you work with our team we’ll work with you to ensure that you’re not presenting yourself to the judge in a way that encourages this assigned income to be an issue. We can also argue for a more realistic child support and spousal support amount. This is especially important in farm and ranch divorces, wherein the variances in income from year to year can be severe.
In most cases we will try to handle this at the negotiation phase. If we can keep your divorce from going to trial we can help you avoid some of the major issues that high net worth earners experience after the divorce is complete. Your spouse is often far more familiar with your true income than the judge is, for example.
Why Merchant Law?
One of the best reasons to choose Merchant Law is that we are a full-service law firm. That means we have a broad range of experience that can vastly improve your outcome on your divorce case. A divorce case is also a business and real estate case, and our lawyers are adept at both types of law.
In addition, most of our lawyers have 20+ years of experience. Some have over 30 years of experience. Our founder, Anthony Merchant Q.C., has been featured in numerous family law journals, writing on child support, child custody, custody support mobility, and matrimonial property legislation.
We have helped thousands of high earning Albertans navigate their divorces, and we’re ready to turn our full attention to your case. We’re known for being some of Canada’s toughest negotiators and strongest litigators. You can count on us to come prepared, and you can count on us to work hard on every aspect of your case.
You deserve the best lawyers you can find during your divorce. You’ll find them here: at Merchant Law. Call (403) 237-7777 to schedule your first appointment today.