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Spousal Support After Marriage Or Separation – Who Is Entitled To It And How Is It Calculated?

Spousal Support After Marriage Or Separation – Who Is Entitled To It And How Is It Calculated?

Spousal support is a concept that is hard to grasp for a lot of couples going through separation and divorce. There are spouses who are willing to pay the child support, but not the spousal support.

Spousal support is a legal duty arising from marriage. The main objective of spousal support is to make the spouse immune from facing financial difficulty. However, spousal support is not an automatic part of divorce or separation. Spousal support is usually negotiated between parties, or it is determined through the order of court. Given that this is a broad concept, this article is only going to focus on the entitlement and the calculation of the spousal support.

It is pertinent to note that the spouse who is claiming spousal support must be able to prove that certain financial need is emerging from the dissolution of marriage. Many people wrongly assume that as long as there is a difference in income, the spouse with the higher income will have to pay spousal support to the spouse with lower income. Nonetheless, this is not always the case.

Order For Support Of Spouse

Section 33(8) of the Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, recognises that the spousal support identifies the spouse’s contribution to the relationship and the economic consequences of the relationship for the spouse. It portions the economic burden of child support equitably and makes reasonable provision to support the spouse to be able to contribute to his or her own support. Hence, release the parties of financial hardships.

Types Of Spousal Support

In Bracklow v. Bracklow, 1999, the Supreme Court of Canada has identified three conceptual models to find the entitlement of spousal support:

  1. Contractual: the court will consider any express or implied agreement between the parties to create or limit mutual support obligations.
  2. Compensatory: the court will compensate a spouse who has suffered economic disadvantages as a result of the marriage or has contributed to the economic advantage of the other spouse.
  3. Needs-based: the court will consider the needs, means and other circumstances of the spouse to determine if the spouse is able to support himself or herself at the end of the marriage without the support of the other party.

Factors To Determine The Amount Of Spousal Support

The determination of the amount of spousal support can be a complex equation. To determine the amount of the spousal support, the court usually considers the following factors:

  • parties current and future assets and means,
  • the dependent’s capacity to provide support,
  • age and health conditions of both parties,
  • the dependent’s needs,
  • standard of living of parties while together,
  • length of time parties cohabited,
  • the influence, on the spouse’s earnings and career development, of the responsibility of caring for a child, etc.

How Much Spousal Support Is To Be Paid?

The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG) introduced by the Department of Justice are routinely consulted by courts in calculating the spousal support payment. The SSAG have put forward a formulaic and emulative approach for the purpose of calculation of spousal support primarily based on the length of the marriage.

The general formula is 1.5% to 2% where the child support does not exist. The 1.5% to 2% is multiplied by the length of marriage or cohabitation (number of years of marriage or cohabitation), which is then multiplied by the difference between the total income of the spouses for each year of marriage or cohabitation, up to a maximum of 50%. However, the time period for spousal support whether definite or indefinite varies for every case.

Our Expert Lawyers Can Guide You

Ayaz Mehdi Professional Corporation is a full-service Ontario-based Law firm serving its clients with the most practical advice at cost-effective prices. For more information on spousal support issues, please get in touch with our knowledgeable Family Lawyer at Ayaz Mehdi Professional Corporation.

Disclaimer:  Kindly note that sending or receiving information through this site does not establish a solicitor-client relationship. Legal matters are fact-specific, and the law is variably changing. The views expressed and the content provided on this blog are general guidelines and cannot substitute for proper legal advice. Schedule your legal consultation by clicking here: Let’s meet!

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