Spousal support (or alimony) is usually a regular monthly payment made by one spouse to the other to help the claiming spouse maintain the same standard of living that he or she was accustomed to during the marriage. At M. G. Michaels & Associates, Whitby spousal support lawyers, we are experts at negotiating fair spousal support amounts for our clients. Our lawyers will gather the relevant information, and advise you of your entitlement to support, or obligation to pay, as well as approximations of the amount, and the duration the support will last.
Our Whitby family lawyers start with these factors, most commonly used in calculating spousal support:
- Income of both spouses;
- How long you were married; and,
- Whether you have children, as well as the age and health of both spouses and each child.
What is Spousal Support?
Spousal support is money paid from one spouse to another after separation. Our spousal support lawyers at M. G. Michaels & Associates, Whitby family lawyers, can guide you through spousal support every step of the way in Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Oshawa, Bowmanville, and Courtice in Durham Region.
While spousal support is most commonly paid on a monthly basis, but it can also be paid in one lump sum, as a ‘buy out’, so-to-speak. Unlike child support, spousal support payable on a monthly basis is taxable in the hands of the recipient, and tax deductible to the payor. A lump sum payment of spousal support, however, does not receive that tax treatment. Catching up arrears of monthly support in a lump sum payment is treated as if the payments were made as required, namely monthly.
When is Spousal Support Payable?
Spousal support may be payable by one spouse to another when a couple is married; has lived together in a ‘marriage-like’ relationship for at least three years; or, when a couple has a child together and lives together, regardless of how long they have lived together. Our spousal support lawyers can advise you in your particular situation.
When considering whether you or your spouse is entitled to spousal support, Section 15.2(6) of the Divorce Act outlines four objectives to consider:
- To recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages to the spouse arising from the relationship between the spouses or the breakdown of that relationship;
- To apportion between the spouses any financial consequences arising from the care of their child, beyond the duty to provide support for the child;
- To relieve any economic hardship of the spouses arising from the breakdown of the relationship between the spouses, and;
- As far as practicable, to promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse within a reasonable period of time.
While a common law spouse cannot claim spousal support under the Divorce Act (because there was no marriage), a judge will apply the same types of factors when considering a support claim under section 33(9) of the Family Law Act.
Generally speaking, there are three types of entitlement to spousal support:
- Non-Compensatory (needs-based); and,
Some examples of instances where entitlement to spousal support may be found are listed below:
- Your spouse’s career was given higher priority over the course of the relationship than your own while you focused more on running the household and family affairs (compensatory);
- You left the paid workforce to focus your time more on meeting the needs of the household and/or family (compensatory);
- You are dependent on your spouse financially to meet your financial needs and/or have become accustomed to a lifestyle provided by your spouse which you are unable to achieve financially on your own (non-compensatory);
- You sacrificed in some way to support your spouse in his or her studies or career training (compensatory); and,
- Your spouse agreed in a Cohabitation Agreement, Marriage Agreement or Pre-nuptial Agreement to pay you spousal support in the event of separation (contractual)
Determining entitlement to spousal support can be difficult because it is not simply a disparity in your incomes – our spousal support lawyers can assist.