Will you be compensated for your “compromise” during the marriage in a divorce proceeding? Will the court warrant compensatory spousal support if your sacrifice towards marriage has advantaged your partner? If you are concerned about these questions or have queries surrounding spousal support, please get in touch with an experienced lawyer at Ayaz Mehdi Professional Corporation.
If you are relatively familiar with how Ontario family law operates, you may recognize that a spouse is more likely to receive a higher amount of spousal support if the spouse took on a substantial amount of child-rearing responsibilities. But what happens if there is no child of marriage, is it possible for a spouse to claim the spousal support factoring in the “disadvantage” for the other spouse? The answer is yes. The claimant spouse will still receive spousal support even if there is no child from the relationship.
What Is Compensatory Spousal Support?
Compensatory spousal support is intended to provide compensation to the recipient spouse for any economic disadvantage or loss resulting from the breakdown of marriage. For example, a claim for compensatory spousal support can be made where the spouse gave up his/her career for the sake of child-rearing and homemaking.
Sacrifice Made By One Spouse And Advantage Acquired By The Other Spouse – A Basic Principle In Compensatory Spousal Support Cases
For instance, in Moge v. Moge, 1992 CanLII 25 (SCC),  3 SCR 813, the wife had sacrificed her career goals for the welfare of her family and when the marriage broke down her future earning capacity was at stake. The judge in Moge v. Moge ruled that the earning potential of a woman who stays at home can decrease by 1.5% for each year when she is out of the workforce.
Hence, the compensatory claim of the wife was fully justified as her career advancement opportunities were curtailed and she faced economic hardships primarily because of her domestic and parenting contributions made during the course of marriage.
The courts reaffirmed this approach in Laurain v. Clarke, 2013 ONSC 726 (CanLII), as the court utilized the compensatory spousal support model. Ms. Laurain was asked by her husband to leave her job upon the birth of their second child. She was out of the work force for nearly ten years that put her at an economic disadvantage. As a result of this sacrifice, her husband’s career advanced as he could fully focus on his job knowing that his wife is taking care of the children.
Therefore, it can be safely concluded that the question of – what the spouse’s contribution is and how was the other spouse benefited by that contribution is of paramount significance in compensatory spousal support cases.
Rules For Compensatory Claims Under Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines
The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG) sets forth some circumstances that makes possible to establish compensatory claims based on an economic loss or a restitution claim for an economic advantage conferred. Some common elements that can warrant compensatory spousal support are:
- One spouse is transferred for employment purposes, on one or more occasions, compelling the other spouse to quit his or her job and to become a secondary earner.
- One spouse leaves the country to marry, giving up his or her job or business to do so.
- One spouse works to put the other through a post-secondary or professional program, but the marriage breaks down soon after graduation and the supporting spouse has not been able to enjoy any of the benefits of the enhanced earning capacity of the other spouse.
In case a claimant spouse proves such a disproportionate compensatory claim, then this exception permits for an individualized determination of the amount of spousal support, based upon the size and nature of that claim. The standard formula under SSAG may not assist to calculate the spousal support in these cases.
Our Skilled Lawyers Can Guide You
Spousal support can be a highly complex and contentious issue. With a history of legal representation at cost-effective rates, Ayaz Mehdi Professional Corporation is providing legal services in Civil Law, Criminal Law, Family Law, Will and Estates, and Immigration Law. If you are in need of an experienced Family/Divorce Lawyer, please contact Ayaz Mehdi Professional Corporation.
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