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Divorce in Ontario: Division of Assets, Valuation & Equalization

It is not as simple as dividing assets down the middle.

"Everything is divided 50-50." While this idea may be stated simply, Ontario divorce law recognizes that this may not always be fair and the reality is that equalization of property is far more complex.

While the general principle is that parties are equally sharing their “increase in net worth during the course of the marriage,” there are numerous exceptions to that principle. A critical example of this is the matrimonial home where the total equity is shared, not merely the increase. In addition, the special treatment and exclusion of gifts and inheritances under Ontario family law may be lost when related to the matrimonial home.

At, we want to increase awareness of the need for early legal intervention in divorce, because of issues such as complex equalization.

This critical exercise requires finding assets and ensuring they are properly valued, considering assets owned on the date of the marriage, tracking assets that may have been dissipated during the marriage, understanding complex accounting, valuation and tax principles that may be factored in to proper valuation of the assets, what present and future liabilities may be relevant, as well as the complex interplay between assets (particularly business assets) in equalization and issues such as spousal support.

Elliot Birnboim’s fundamental expertise, developed over 20 years of family and commercial litigation experience, is knowing where to look as well as advancing the creative and cutting-edge arguments that help find value in the opposing spouse’s assets – as well as ensuring that proper valuation principles are brought to bear in determining the equalization of property.

Negotiating or enforcing your property settlement.

Most cases settle before going to court, and certainly before a trial. When and on what terms your case settles is a function of experience and negotiation skill and understanding the strengths and challenges of your case. Since for most families, a substantial amount of their equity is in the matrimonial home, this is often a critical factor in how any equalization payment is paid. This makes protecting your rights in the matrimonial home that much more critical in securing your equalization payment.

Elliot is a senior business litigation and family law lawyer in Toronto at Chitiz Pathak LLP. He understands not only the complex legal and financial issues crucial to dealing with equalization of net family property, but also important variables that can ensure your claim to equalization is settled on the best possible terms.

Call us for a free consultation.

Learn more by consulting with our team. Call 1.800.648.7943 or 416-800-2573 to arrange a consultation. You can also use our online contact form to get in touch.

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