What is spousal support?
Spousal support is the money one marriage partner pays to another after the marriage or relationship ends. It was put into place to lessen financial hardship on a spouse or common-law partner who was financially dependent on the other during the marriage or relationship. Typically, when someone wants to receive spousal support, they were and currently are earning less than their partner and need financial assistance to maintain a reasonable lifestyle. If you might have a right to receive spousal support, it’s important to know that it is not automatically granted. Meaning if you want to receive spousal support, you need to request to be granted spousal support from the court or you need an agreement that it will be paid.
The experienced divorce lawyers at Galbraith Family Law can provide expert guidance and answer all your questions if you are going to be providing or receiving spousal support.
Our lawyers will work closely with you to come up with a reasonable, effective and equitable solution to your spousal support issue.
You can learn more about our services by calling (705) 302-1102 (Barrie), (289) 802-2433 (Newmarket), or (647) 370-8965 (Toronto) or clicking here to schedule a consultation.
Is Spousal Support Awarded Automatically by the Court?
No, it isn’t automatic for either party during divorce proceedings or a common law separation. It is complicated.
Usually, the spouse with a lower income will request to be granted spousal support by the court. Whether you are requesting it or being asked to pay it, this is where the help of a knowledgeable lawyer can pay dividends.
Our experts can help guide you, simplifying the process ensuring that you take the steps that will best serve your interests.
In our many years of experience in this area of law, we have seen many requests for spousal support in longer marriages where one of the parties has spent more time at home raising the kids or has delayed their career for the sake of the family.
In these instances, having to pay for a new residence, food and clothing can be a burden on that spouse. However, spousal support can provide the assistance they need to compensate them or to just get them on their feet again.
Determining the amount of support can be complicated though. Often, the spouses do not agree on the amount. We can help you get the spousal support you need. Alternatively, we can help you avoid paying spousal support that is too high and has become an undue burden on you.
How do the Courts Determine the Amount of Spousal Support?
First, to get spousal support the dependent spouse must demonstrate to the court that they cannot maintain the same lifestyle from their marriage without financial assistance from the other spouse.
When determining the amount the court will consider a number of different factors, such as:
- The age and health of each spouse
- What it would take for the dependent spouse to become independent – like time and training
- The standard of living the dependent spouse became used to during the marriage
- How long the marriage lasted (Length of the relationship)
- The current ability of the dependent spouse to support herself or himself
- If there was any marital misconduct, including infidelity or domestic violence, by either spouse
All these factors and more play a role in both the decision of spousal support being granted and how much is owed to one partner from the other. Each case of spousal support is unique and completely depends on the individual situation. Determining the amount can be complicated and in most cases, spouses don’t usually agree on the amount of spousal support due, so it can be a long process to decide who is owed what.
The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines help predict the range of spousal support and are a helpful guide. It is not binding on you but it helps determine a reasonable amount. Our lawyers use a computer program that helps us determine the range of outcomes under the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. We can help you determine how much you might have to pay or might expect to receive.
Our lawyers can analyze your situation. Then, they can discuss with you if you are eligible for support and, if so, how much.
If you are on the other end of the spousal support relationship, we can tell you if your spouse is eligible for support and how much you might need to pay.
Knowing what to expect is key to feeling confident and prepared during divorce proceedings. We can help make sure you are not caught off guard by any support requests.
Call (705) 302-1102 (Barrie), (289) 802-2433 (Newmarket), or (647) 370-8965 (Toronto) or click here to schedule a consultation.
How is It Typically Paid?
Spousal support can be paid:
- In scheduled payments such as monthly or weekly (this is most common payment type)
- As a lump sum
- As a transfer of title or property
How Long Does It Last?
In most cases, though again every divorce is unique, spousal support continues until one of the following occurs:
- The recipient remarries
- The recipient begins residing with a new partner
- The ex-spouses remarry
- The recipient passes away
Spousal support can also end when the payer passes away, however; in some instances support could continue through the payer’s estate if negotiated in a separate agreement.
Following a finalized divorce, spousal support is relatively permanent unless your or your spouse’s circumstances significantly change. Then, even if you and your ex-spouse agree on any changes, if you don’t make a formal change to your divorce agreement, you’ll have no legal recourse in the event of a dispute – this is another reason why you need a qualified lawyer on your side during and after a divorce.
What if I Have Questions About Spousal Support?
If you have any questions about receiving or paying spousal support, determining the amount, or about how it might affect your taxes, our family law lawyers are available to provide you with expert guidance.
They have a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area of family law.
Our lawyers can help make the complex financial issues surrounding this topic easier to understand. We can also help ensure they work to your advantage.
We will be by your side throughout the divorce process answering your questions and giving you expert advice. To learn more about us, call (705) 302-1102 (Barrie), (289) 802-2433 (Newmarket), or (647) 370-8965 (Toronto) or click here to schedule a consultation.