Few people realize how complex divorce can be, or how much impact it can have on a person’s life. Yet if you are dissolving your marriage you are in the middle of a legal matter which can have profound impacts on your financial future, as well as your future relationship with your children.
The family law lawyers at Merchant Law have decades of experience helping Saskatchewan residents craft divorce settlements that meet their needs and help them protect their long-term goals. We specialize in high net worth and farm divorces, which are some of the most complicated family law cases the courts can throw at us. We have the expertise to help you navigate your divorce too, no matter how intense or how complicated it may be.
Child Custody, Support, and Visitation
If you have children then your divorce decree will need to make arrangements for them.
The payment of child support is non-optional. The judge will not approve a divorce settlement that doesn’t include payment of child support. The payment must be set to reflect federal child support guidelines. You can choose to negotiate for more, which often happens when the child has special needs.
In addition, if you own a business or make variable income, the child support guidelines don’t apply so easily. You will need a lawyer to help you negotiate an appropriate amount.
You should also be aware that Saskatchewan courts favor shared custody arrangements whenever possible, or joint custody arrangements where the noncustodial parent gets as close to 50% parenting time as possible.
The only time they favor other arrangements is when there is a clear and obvious danger to the child from drugs, alcohol, or abuse. If you wish to pursue sole custody you will have to have solid proof to back claims of unfit parenting. Even then you can usually expect the other parent to be granted supervised parenting time.
Finally, visitation is non-optional. Once a schedule has been set and approved by the courts the court will expect both parents to follow the schedule. Parents who try to keep one another from their court-ordered parenting time can be held in contempt of court.
Asset Division and High Net Worth Divorces
Both spouses are entitled to the equitable division of marital assets. This sounds simple on paper, but in reality there are many issues which can complicate the division of marital property. For example, it is possible to comingle marital and nonmarital property in a way that brings the property into dispute and strips it of its protection.
In addition, especially in high net worth divorces, these assets are not always liquid enough to divide easily. When the assets involve businesses, real property, complex investment accounts and other sophisticated financial instruments it takes creative legal solutions and a deep understanding of the options to craft a workable settlement.
We specialize in helping high net worth couples dissolve their marriages with a minimum amount of impact on their overall net worth. We can help you preserve your business, protect the value of your investment accounts, avoid undesirable tax consequences, and more.
Spousal support becomes contentious almost faster than any other divorce issue. Both sides often feel like their ability to survive is under threat. Payors are afraid of a large monthly obligation to a person they want little to do with, and being taken advantage of. Payees fear they’ll be forced to fend for themselves without enough money to live on.
Fortunately there are solutions that can make spousal support workable for both parties. In addition, while it’s common for a spouse to qualify for some manner of spousal support, lifetime support awards are rare. Instead you can expect most awards to last six months to one year for every year of marriage. The goal is to help the disadvantaged spouse get independent, rather than to create a lifelong financial obligation.
Lawyers use complex computer programs to spin up an initial offer for spousal support, but these are just guidelines. We’ve negotiated lump sum payments, payments which start large but diminish over time, and have arranged for the lower-earning spouse to keep a higher percentage of assets in lieu of spousal support. Your specific scenario will depend on your lawyer’s skill at negotiating the best deal for you. Fortunately, this is where the lawyers at Merchant Law excel.
Divorce for Farmers
Farm divorces come with many of the same issues as high net worth divorces. A farm is usually both a business, the location of a family home, one spouse’s inheritance, and the future for any children. In addition assets are not always liquid and may be necessary for the farm to continue its worth. Finally, variable income makes setting spousal support awards and child support awards hard.
Fortunately there are solutions. Our team can structure your settlement in a way that helps you save your farm’s ability to produce while ensuring an equitable arrangement the courts will accept. Our expert farm divorce lawyers have the business, real estate, and civil law background it takes to craft these solutions.
Common Law Separation
While you don’t need the court to end your common law marriage, you will need it to protect your property rights, spousal support right, and child custody arrangements.
A formal separation agreement is the only way to make this happen. This will turn your separation arrangements into a court-backed agreement, which means you can get it enforced if your spouse reneges on their end of the bargain.
Get Help Today
We have offices in Saskatoon, Regina, and Moose Jaw, but we help people throughout the province, including residents of North Battleford. We also serve other areas like Prince Albert, Lloydminster, Yorkton, Swift Current, Estevan, Warman, Weyburn, Martensville, and White City. Many of our lawyers have decades of family law experience and have even been published in prestigious family law journals, which means when you work with us you get all of the advantages that come with working with truly skilled professionals.
Schedule an appointment to go over the facts of your divorce case by calling (306) 653-7777 today.