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At separation, a higher earning spouse may be obliged to pay spousal support depending on the situation.
In many cases, the law views spousal relationships as partnerships. At separation, a higher earning spouse may be obliged to pay spousal support depending on the situation. At the same time, the law also expects adults to look after their own needs, to the best of their abilities.
The purpose of spousal support is to:
- recognize a spouse’s contribution to the relationship
- help a spouse become self-sufficient
- relieve financial hardship
- correct any disadvantage to a spouse caused by the relationship and/or break-up
A common law spouse may be entitled to spousal support after 3 years cohabitation or if the spouses have a child together and the relationship is of “some permanence”. A married spouse may be entitled to spousal support after any length of marriage.
Once entitlement is shown, the amount of spousal support depends on factors such as the length of cohabitation, incomes, ages, dependent children, the needs of the person claiming support, and the ability of the other person to pay.
The Federal Government ’s Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs) provide appropriate ranges of spousal support and the suggested length of time it should be paid, once entitlement is shown. Unlike child support tables, the SSAG amounts are not binding.
Each case is decided on its facts. Monthly spousal support can be reviewed annually. In lengthy relationships, spousal support lasts indefinitely until a significant change happens, such as a job loss, retirement or if the spouse receiving support cohabits with a new partner.
Monthly support is tax deductible for the payor and the recipient must include it in taxable income. Sometimes, spousal support is paid in one lump sum amount which is not tax deductible/includable.
Jane is a collaborative family lawyer and mediator. As a relationship specialist, Jane provides customized solutions to separating couples and their families. She works with a team of financial and family professionals to make sure that only the smartest and most cost-effective steps are implemented. Her aim is to guide her clients through the process with unwavering support and a steady focus.Learn More
I have 30 years’ experience helping clients move beyond separation towards a better life. It can be a daunting time. Apart from questions about the law, clients ask: Where do I start? Will my kids adjust? Where will I live? What will my finances look like? How can I negotiate with my spouse when we are not on great terms? When will I be divorced? How long will this all take? How much will it cost?Learn More
I practice exclusively family law and help clients with smart, practical, and effective solutions tailored to each family. I work efficiently and focused on a positive outcome, whether in negotiations or in litigation. I understand the importance of clear communication in a family law matter and make sure that my clients are involved in each step of the process. I have experience in all types of family law processes, including negotiations, court, and collaborative divorce and offer my clients a wide range of options to choose from.Learn More