Keeping more assets in divorce

Disgruntled spouses trying to hide, transfer or shelter assets need to be cautious

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From the April 2015 issue of the magazine.

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(iStock)

(iStock)

Q: I plan on divorcing my wife in two years. What can I do right now to keep more of my assets?—All’s Fair, Whitby, Ont.

A: Getting ready to split but don’t want to share the spoils? Well, you’re out of luck if you live in Ontario, says Toronto estates lawyer Barry Corbin. According to family law, each spouse is entitled to half the assets earned during the marital years (subject to certain exceptions). But this doesn’t necessarily mean the top earner always foots the split-up bill. Say, you came to the marriage with $1 million in stock, but earned nothing over the years. Meanwhile, your wife had no assets when she married you, but acquired $400,000 during the marriage. When you got divorced, she’d end up owing you $200,000, as you only divide the assets that were acquired during marriage. Just keep in mind that Ontario courts will dismiss any attempts by disgruntled spouses trying to hide, transfer or shelter assets in order to keep them from an ex.

Got a delicate money question? Send it to ask@moneysense.ca

 

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