episode: 33

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About This Episode

Understanding your rights and responsibilities in a marriage or common-law relationship is a critical aspect of financial planning. As wealth managers, clients will often ask us what happens to their assets in the case of a divorce or separation. This is an especially important topic to consider when it comes to your home, which is usually a significant proportion of your net worth. In the past we’ve focused on the Civil Code of Québec and today, we’re taking a deep dive into relationships for individuals that live in Ontario and the rest of Canada.

To guide us through this topic, we’re very excited to be joined by Caroline Kim, a lawyer and a partner at Miller Thomson LLP, one of the largest Canadian law firms. Caroline assists people before and after a marriage or common-law relationship and is experienced in assisting high net-worth clients with complex property and corporate assets, family-owned businesses and trusts, as well as having experience in high-conflict situations and amicable settlements through negotiation, mediation and collaborative practice.

On this episode, Ruben and Caroline talk about your rights and responsibilities in a marriage or common-law relationship, how the division of assets is different in Ontario than in other provinces, the types of assets that are included and excluded in the pool to be divided, how you can protect yourself with a marriage contract or cohabitation agreement, key differences for separation in a marriage versus a common-law relationship, and so much more! Thank you for listening!

Key Topics:

  • Why the topic of family law is important in financial planning (1:03)
  • Introducing Caroline (2:15)
  • The role of a family lawyer (4:07)
  • How legislation differs across the provinces (5:24
  • Equalization of your net worth on separation (6:51)
  • Types of assets that are included in the net worth to be equalized (8:54)
  • Assessing the growth in investment accounts during a marriage (10:08)
  • Why good record keeping is crucial (11:10)
  • When to consult a lawyer before marriage (12:38)
  • Are gifts and inheritances shareable? (13:37)
  • The difficulty with commingling funds (15:22)
  • What constitutes a matrimonial home (18:07)
  • The treatment of investment properties versus residences (21:03)
  • The key difference that arises when you sell your home before separation (23:14
  • How to figure out whether you need a marriage contract (24:21)
  • The timing of a marriage contract (26:43)
  • Advantages of having a marriage contract in place (27:36)
  • The increase in common-law relationships in Canada (29:48)
  • The two areas where common-law rights apply (20:26)
  • What is the joint family venture concept? (31:39)
  • How the division of assets is decided in common-law situations (32:31)
  • Why there’s a wide spectrum of outcomes in joint family situations (35:16)
  • Rights as a homeowner in a common-law relationship (36:24)
  • The importance of getting legal advice for your specific situation (37:59)
  • Variation in rights and responsibilities across provinces (39:15)
  • How common-law couples can protect themselves (40:31)
  • Entering a cohabitation agreement (42:12)
  • How child support is calculated (43:49)
  • The guidelines for spousal support for married and common-law relationships (44:46)
  • Difficulties that often come up with spousal support (46:16)
  • Why honest conversations are important at the start of any relationship (47:39)
  • And much more!

Meet your hosts

Keith Matthews

Keith Matthews

Partner & Portfolio Manager

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Ruben Antoine

Ruben Antoine

Portfolio Manager

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Marcelo Taboada

Marcelo Taboada

Associate Portfolio Manager

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Thanks for Listening!

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