Luxury market ‘uncertainty’ used by realtor in divorce courts

Vancouver Courier

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Jason Soprovich is a leading luxury real estate agent based in West Vancouver. www.soprovich.com

A leading West Vancouver realtor has brought the recent slowdown in luxury real estate sales into the divorce courts, arguing that spousal support payouts should not be based on his recent earnings, because the top end of the market is slowing down.

A court judgment filed online by the B.C. Supreme Court revealed that the respondent in the case, Jason Soprovich, a well-known luxury real estate agent in West Vancouver, said it would be “devastating to him” if payments were based on previous earnings.

The document said, “The respondent argues that it would be devastating to him if his income for support purposes is based on an average of the realty company’s past three years’ net income. He says that the real estate market slowed down from 2016 to 2017 and is likely to slow further down in 2018. He argues that the slowdown has been caused by the foreign buyer’s tax, the tightening of residential mortgage insurance rules, and the increases to the Bank of Canada interest rate. The respondent says these have resulted in a general tightening in the mortgage financing marketplace. Further, he says there is a hesitancy in the real estate market due to uncertainty over what steps the NDP government might take, some of which have been announced since the respondent swore his affidavit.”

Soprovich’s financial statements pegged his annual income at just over $1 million, a figure that is expected to be “roughly the same” for 2018. According to the document, he agreed that child support payments should be based on his financial statements, and fixed at $11,000 a month, but that “in determining spousal support, there should be a consideration of the uncertainty and variability of his income.”

The document continued, “The respondent argues that he needs to be able to support the expenses of the realty company in months where commissions are low and that caution should be exercised so that he has flexibility in case his income does not keep pace with that of the past years.”

Soprovich and his ex-wife Monica Thiessen, a part-time realtor who worked with Soprovich and was the primary caregiver of their children – enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle in their 17 years of marriage, said the ruling. But the respondent is claiming that they have overspent and argues that Thiessen cannot expect this lifestyle to continue. “His view is that the standard of living that the parties have enjoyed in the past was and is unsustainable. He appends a memorandum, allegedly from his accountant, showing that the expenses of the parties have well exceeded their ability to pay,” says the court document.

Judge Muir wrote that she believed Soprovich had “reason to be pessimistic” about his company’s future earnings. The divorce proceedings continue, but in the meantime, the court has asked Soprovich to pay $12,318 a month in interim child support and $22,960 in spousal support.

Among many other luxury real estate listings, Soprovich is co-listing agent on this remote B.C. private estate, put up for sale in September 2017 and rumoured to belong to movie star Michelle Pfeiffer and her TV producer husband David E. Kelley. Listed at $28.8 million, the property is the joint-second highest-priced listing in the Lower Mainland.

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