Don't base child and spousal support on my million-dollar income, B.C. realtor tells divorce court

A real estate agent from West Vancouver has brought housing market uncertainty into his divorce proceedings, arguing a slowdown caused by government policies has made his family’s jet-setting lifestyle unsustainable.

High-end West Van realtor worries family lifestyle is now unsustainable, judgment reveals

Jason Soprovich is a well-known luxury Realtor, based in West Vancouver. (Soprovich.com)

A real estate agent from West Vancouver has brought housing market uncertainty into his divorce proceedings, arguing a slowdown caused by government policies has made his family's jet-setting lifestyle unsustainable.

Jason Soprovich's realty company, of which he is the sole shareholder, has raked in more than $13 million in the last seven years, according to a B.C. Supreme Court judgment posted online last week.

But as he hashes out a divorce agreement with his ex, his legal team is arguing that the future of the real estate market is so hazy, the firm's past performance isn't a great indicator of what he can afford to pay in spousal and child support.

Soprovich argued "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," Master Leslie Muir wrote in the judgment.

"He says that the real estate market slowed down from 2016 to 2017 and is likely to slow further down in 2018."

Jason Soprovich's real estate firm earned $2.95 million in 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Jason Soprovich Realty Inc. brought in $2.95 million in pre-tax net income in 2016, according to the judgment. Last year, the firm made about a third of that amount, or $1 million.

The causes of that decline, Soprovich told the court, include the foreign buyers' tax, tightened mortgage rules and rising interest rates. He argued that anticipation of more measures from the NDP government is also affecting the market.

Soprovich was married to Monica Thiessen for 17 years before they separated in the fall, and they lived a luxurious life during those years, according to the judgment.

The couple were members of the ritzy Hollyburn Club and the Capilano Golf and Country Club, and their children have always gone to private school. The family made annual visits to Hawaii, Las Vegas and L.A.

Thiessen worked part time throughout the marriage, arranging open houses and showing homes to buyers while the children were at school, according to the judgment.

'Reason to be pessimistic'

But the family's extravagant way of life will have to change, Soprovich argued.

"His view is that the standard of living that the parties have enjoyed in the past was and is unsustainable," Muir wrote.

The court agreed that the skyward trajectory that has marked the local real estate market for years appears to have ended.

"I accept that the respondent has reason to be pessimistic about the real estate market and hence his income," Muir said.

But, she added, "It is reasonable to assume that much of the impact of the changes to the real estate market referred to by the respondent has been reflected in the market by now."

While the couple hammers out a divorce agreement, the court has asked Soprovich to pay $12,318 a month in interim child support and $22,960 in spousal support.

CBC has reached out to Soprovich to ask for further thoughts on where the real estate market is headed, but he said he would need to speak with his lawyer.

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Reach me at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.