History

Susan and Robert were both retired when they separated after a 40-year marriage.  They had two children together who were independent at the date of separation.  Robert had been a surgeon during the marriage and Susan had not worked outside of the home.  Susan had received significant gifts from her parents throughout the relationship, some of which she kept separate in accounts and investments and the remainder she used to enhance the parties’ existing assets.  For example, Susan bought a cottage with part of her inheritance and also put in a new kitchen and a pool at the matrimonial home.  The parties had 4 properties in total when they separated, including the matrimonial home, the cottage and 2 rental properties as well as their RRSPs and investments.  They agreed to mediate.

Issues

The most significant issues which the parties had to resolve were the valuation and division of assets.  They could not agree on the value of assets.  Susan also argued that the cottage ought not to be equalized with the remainder of the family property because it was purchased with inheritance money.  Although Susan would have more property than Robert post separation, she made a claim for spousal support on the basis that she should be compensated for the work she did in the home over their lengthy marriage.

Resolution

The parties each obtained appraisals for the various properties.   They attended 2 full days of mediation with their lawyers and financial professionals and settled all issues.  They agreed that the cottage was a matrimonial home given that the parties used it regularly throughout the year and in particular for most of the summer.   The parties agreed that they would not divide the cottage but leave it for their children.  Robert agreed as part of the settlement to pay Susan lump sum spousal support of $200,000 for her spousal support claim and Susan signed a spousal support release.  Susan kept the rental properties and planned to continue to collect an income from those properties in her retirement.  Robert had more in RRSPs and investment income that he would use for his retirement.  As a result of the division of assets, the parties’ retirement income would be similar.  The matrimonial home was sold they divided the net proceeds.  The process took 18 months to complete.