Our team helps oil and gas executives, cattle ranchers, entrepreneurs, and other high net worth individuals resolve their most pressing divorce issues. We are experts in family law, business law, and real estate law. This gives us a breadth of understanding that allows us to craft sophisticated solutions for all of the most common concerns of a high net worth divorce.
We have helped thousands of clients settle their divorce cases in an equitable fashion, saving them time, money, and heartache. We start the process by telling you how a judge is likely to handle your case. You’ll know both the best case scenarios and the worst case scenarios, and can negotiate somewhere between those two extremes.
When the other party pushes the issue, however, we’re not afraid to litigate. We come prepared to fully defend your interests at any divorce trial.
We know that you have an extremely complex asset profile that needs to be divided carefully. While there is no escaping the division of property during a divorce, we can help you secure your most high priority assets, such as businesses, investment portfolios, pensions, rental properties, or the equipment, livestock, and land you need to run a cattle ranch or farm.
We are adept at protecting the value in these assets and in using other assets as bargaining chips to help you get the divorce settlement you want. You won’t be able to keep everything, but you’ll be able to keep enough to give you a fresh start.
We are also highly adept at helping you trace and provide evidentiary support for property that should be excluded. Excluded property includes any property that you owned prior to the date of marriage. It also includes assets gifted by a third party, inheritances, the settlement proceeds from any lawsuit that you were a party in but your spouse was not, insurance proceeds, and property protected by a prenuptial agreement.
Avoiding Undue Taxation
We work closely with your financial professionals to ensure that your divorce decree doesn’t lead to undue tax consequences for you.
You and your spouse should have roughly equal assets not only after the division process is complete, but after taxation is accounted for as well. Yet even the decision of which property to name as your actual family home can have vast tax consequences. We evaluate the tax consequences of real estate transfers, investment account withdrawals, corporate share transfers, and more.
With our help, you can ensure that you won’t have to worry about any nasty surprises from the CRA at tax time.
Negotiating Income Assessments
If you are a high ranking oil and gas executive or other corporate officer then your income rarely boils down to your paychecks alone. This means that your spouse may push for imputed income that is well above your actual monthly cash flow, which can lead to trouble when you try to make your monthly maintenance payments.
We can help ensure that the income assigned is both fair and workable. We can help demonstrate your true monthly cash flow to the courts and can help negotiate a settlement that doesn’t cripple you financially.
Negotiating Child Support
Child support is negotiable for high net worth couples. At certain income thresholds you no longer have to meet the minimum payment amount at your income level, as this can result in an unfair wealth transfer between you and your spouse.
In addition, you will need lawyers who understand how to build a plan for special expenses such as private school.
Negotiating Spousal Support
Spousal support is certainly one of the most contentious issues in the average high net worth divorce. We know that the thought of writing a large monthly check can be extremely stressful. We come to the table with a variety of suggestions and solutions that can help make spousal support workable.
A wealthy individual will rarely be able to get out of paying spousal support entirely, especially if their spouse stayed home and raised the kids. However, that does not mean that spousal support has to cripple you.
In many cases, we have been able to arrange for lump sum payments, negotiate with income-bearing assets such as rental properties, and take other steps to make the spousal support portion of your divorce settlement livable and workable.
Help for Stay At Home Parents
We don’t just represent the highest earner in high net worth divorces. We’ve represented the economically disadvantaged spouse as well, including those who have sacrificed their careers and lives to raise families.
Rest assured that if you work with us we’ll help you get a fair deal that will help you support yourself now that your marriage is complete. We will talk to you about your goals, plans, and needs and will work out a plan to help you gather the assets, child support amounts, and spousal support amounts that will give you a fair and reasonable fresh start.
Locating Hidden Assets
The wealthier party in a high net worth divorces are more prone to the temptation of hiding assets. Fortunately we work closely with investigators and forensic accountants to track down every cent that your spouse might be trying to tuck away out of sight. Rest assured that we will then pursue every available remedy on your behalf.
Hiding assets during a divorce is a crime, and can lead to a judge handing all of those hidden assets straight over to the wronged spouse.
Get Help Today
The team at Merchant Law has helped thousands of Leduc, AB residents navigate the complexities of their high net worth divorces. We have over 20 years of experience in the field. Our lawyers are known for being some of the savviest negotiators and toughest litigators in Alberta.
We’re also known for being responsive, empathetic, and driven. When you choose us, we don’t rest until we’ve successfully protected your best interests in the divorce process.
Schedule your first appointment by calling (780) 474-7777 now. We’re here to help.