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Could the Panama Papers affect past divorce settlements?

Toronto readers of this blog have no doubt heard of the recently-released Panama Papers, which reveal information about wealthy individuals who tried to escape taxes and hide money in offshore accounts. However, what they may not have considered is how this information could affect divorce proceedings.

Approximately 625 Canadians' names were released in the Panama papers, and they are expected to be publicly available. This newly released information could inspire past divorcees to target the named individuals by reopening their divorce settlement cases.

Recently, a tax lawyer with 50 years experience told reporters that it is not uncommon for wealthy individuals to try and hide money in an offshore trust during their divorce proceedings. They do this as a way of hiding their true amount of wealth and ultimately saving money in the divorce. Among the 625 Canadian names to be released in the Panama papers, there could be some divorced individuals who used their offshore accounts as a way of escaping certain financial costs associated with their divorce proceedings.

There were quite a few famous names revealed in the Panama Papers already. Among those names were Simon Cowell, Jackie Chan and the ex-wife of Paul McCartney, Heather Mills. Also, a number of government leaders were included on the list.

Ontario residents who suspect that their spouses may have been hiding money during a divorce proceedings may have grounds to reopen their divorce cases. Furthermore, individuals who suspect that their spouses are currently hiding assets during their divorces should bring this suspicion up to their divorce lawyers immediately.

Source: Toronto Sun, "Panama Papers could impact divorce settlements: Lawyer," Jenny Yuen, May 08, 2016

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