Hugo Michel Nicolas Kotar v. Elizabeth Jane Lightle

(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)


Family law - Family assets.


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Family law – Family assets – Division – Valuation – Book of business – Whether a “book of business” arising out of a spouse’s employment as an investment advisor is family property, and if so, whether and how to determine and realize its value – Whether a party who fails to introduce admissible expert opinion evidence as to the value of property at trial should be granted a “second trial” to introduce such evidence – Whether fictional assumption imposed for the purpose of valuation is supportable at law and in fact – Whether the purpose of family law legislation in British Columbia is to address the disproportionate effects of marriage upon the ability of child-rearing spouses to become independent following the dissolution of marriage.

The parties married in 2000. Ms. Lightle worked in publishing and Mr. Kotar worked as an investment advisor in the securities industry. Their first child was born in 2006 and the second was born in 2009. Ms. Lightle left her full time employment to allow her to care for the children. She then pursued freelance work and started a small publishing business. In 2000, Mr. Kotar purchased a “book of business” from a retiring investment advisor with a loan of $175,000. The amount of assets under his management fluctuated over the years from $20,000,000 to $57,000,000. The parties separated in 2011. At the time of trial, Mr. Kotar’s income had been adversely affected by a number of factors, including the loss of certain clients so that the assets under his management had decreased. Mr. Kotar was also facing a lawsuit with a claim for $400,000 against him. The parties’ assets at the date of trial were the family home, investments, RRSPs, vehicles and Mr. Kotar’s book of business.