History

Samantha and Joanne were married for 10 years and had 1 child together named Avery.  Avery was 7 when the parties separated.  Both parents were actively involved in Avery’s life and each wanted to have sole custody of him but Samantha had spent more time at home caring for Avery particularly when he was very young and during the summers and school holidays.  Samantha worked as a teacher during the marriage and earned approximately $80,000 per year.  Joanne was a dentist and ran her own practice.  She earned $350,000 per year.  Due to Samantha’s ability to do the extra child care, Joanne was able to spend long hours establishing her practice.  Each had a fair amount of flexibility to pick up Avery from school and to take him to her activities after school.   Samantha had a pension which had to be valued and Joanne’s business also needed a valuation.  They were in the middle of building their dream home when they separated so the valuation of that property was in dispute.

Issues

Custody and access was very much in dispute as each parent wanted to be Avery’s primary caregiver.  The parties had to divide their property, after valuing it.  The valuation of the various assets took some time and the involvement of experts.

Resolution

The parties entered into a mediation/arbitration agreement.  They were able to resolve all issues after 1 day of mediation and arbitration became unnecessary.  They agreed that they would have joint custody of Avery and that Avery would share his time equally between each parent’s homes.  After obtaining their own appraisals, they agreed the value of the jointly held property which was to be their future matrimonial home was $1,500,000.  The debt secured against the property was $1 million.  Joanne purchased Samantha’s interest as part of the final terms of resolution.  Samantha was able to keep her pension which was valued at approximately $500,000 and Joanne retained her business which the parties agreed had a net value of $750,000 after considering the debt she had incurred to do get the practice up and running.  Joanne had to take on debt of approximately $330,000 so that she could purchase Samantha’s interest in the jointly held property and also pay Samantha an equalization payment.  Joanne kept her practice.    Based on the parties’ incomes and shared parenting arrangement, Joanne agreed to pay set off child support of $1,994 per month as well as spousal support (which would be tax deductible to her and taxable to Samantha) of $6,314 for a period of 6 years.  They agreed spousal support would be fixed and non-variable unless there were catastrophic circumstances such as either party becoming ill and unable to work.  The process took a total of 2 years.