Spousal Support and Fault: Is There a Connection?

Closeup of a sad woman seeking Spousal Support. Image is in black and white

In the Ottawa Divorce Blog, the author is critical of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Leskun v. Leskun suggesting the Court is allowing “fault” to creep back into whether someone should get spousal support. In that case, the wife claimed she was still unable to work 8 years after the marriage because she was still suffering from the emotional damage inflicted when she learned her husband of 20 years wanted a divorce so he could marry another woman.

I don’t think Jeff has it right in his blog. The Court is not suggesting that someone can receive spousal support simply because of the wrong-doing of their spouse. The Court is looking at the impact of the wrong-doing and concluded that, in fact, the wife was unable to become economically self-sufficient as a result of her present state of health. I don’t think it would matter if the cause of her inability was hearing her husband had an affair, or she was run over by a truck.

It’s the impact of the event that rendered her unable to become self-sufficient.

I certainly agree with Jeff’s suggestion that everyone should do their best to recover from their divorce, but I don’t feel he is being fair when he characterizes Ms. Leskun’s state as being “self-inflicted”. Let’s give her a break. If learning her husband had an affair hit her like a truck plowing down the road full speed, rendering Ms. Leskun unable to become self-sufficient, she is entitled to spousal support in my books (and according to the Supreme Court of Canada too).

Brian Galbraith

Brian Galbraith is the owner and founder of Galbraith Family Law Professional Corporation. Brian is known in the legal community for his commitment to efficiently practicing family law using technology and streamlining the divorce processes.

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