Though beginning with the best of intentions, at or near half of all marriages in Canada will end in separation or divorce. There are a number of potential legal issues that can come up during these periods. One of the most significant is the subject of spousal support.
What Is Spousal Support?
Spousal supports are payments from one spouse to another after a separation or divorce in order to financially support the dependant spouse. This consists either of monthly payments intended to help the recipient spouse maintain a decent standard of living after the parties dissolve their marriage or receipt of lump sum spousal support which circumvents the burden of paying ongoing periodic monthly spousal support.
Spousal Support Calculation
Spousal support is calculated on a mathematical formula known as the “Spousal Support Advisory Guideline” (or the “SSAG”). Although the SSAG is not law, Canadian courts have determined calculations using the SSAG are quite convincing and thus are regularly used to determine the amount and duration of spousal support. The SSAG does not deal with entitlement to spousal support (that depends on tests as set out in respective provincial Divorce and Family Law Acts). Once entitlement is ordered by a Canadian Family court, the SSAG is then used to determine the amount and duration of spousal support.
The formula considers the following factors:
- Party ages
- Party incomes
- Relationship duration
- The number of children in the relationship and their ages etc
Two formulas are used in the SSAG. One is called “With Child Support,” and the other procedure is called “Without Child Support”, with the amount of spousal support altering if the payor has a child support obligation. Spousal support is based on the difference between the two parties’ gross income for each year of marriage, with the duration of support based on the marriage’s length.
The “With Child Support” model of spousal support places more emphasis on the children’s rights to have financial security before considering the spouse. For divorced or separated couples with limited financial resources and who have children, alimony payments can be reduced first to meet the children’s needs.
The formula used to calculate spousal support with this model relies heavily on the Individual Net Disposable Income (INDI) for each party. Factors that influence duration in the “With Child Support” model include the recipient age, the duration the youngest child would take to finish high school, and marriage length.
Requirements for Alimony Payments
There are three types of spousal support:
- Contractual Spousal Support: A settlement between spouses that is usually drafted within separation agreements.
- Compensatory Spousal Support: Support that assists both parties and may be proposed if an economic handicap is created due to the marriage.
- Non-Compensatory Spousal Support: spousal support made for the financial aid of the recipient spouse.
When deciding if a spouse is eligible to receive spousal support from the other, the criteria a judge considers includes:
- Marriage duration
- Each spouses’ financial income and resources accumulated during the marriage
- Spousal roles during the years they were married
- If there are any children with whom parent they will reside
- If the supported spouse will be self-sufficient within a realistic period.
Hiring a Spousal Support Lawyer
Due to the complexity of the formula, computer software is required to calculate the SSAG. As a result, it is best to consult with an experienced spousal support lawyer who can make the necessary tabulations fairly, accurately, and in your best interest. Speak to Juzkiw Law about your spousal support concern today. If you have more questions about family law visit our frequently asked questions or call us today.