Spousal Support

Married and civil union couples have an obligation to support each other if one spouse is in need for a valid reason or has contributed to the other spouse’s enrichment. Spousal support is one of the most complicated issues in family law and a lawyer’s advice on this issue is essential.

 

 

If the spouses cannot agree on whether or not a spouse is entitled to spousal support a judge will decide. The judge will also decide on the amount of support if the parties cannot agree.

 

While spousal support is payable most frequently by periodic payments, bi-weekly or monthly, the Court may replace or complete the spousal support by a lump sum payment.

 

Spousal Support can range from $50 a month to $135,000 a month! For instance someone who earns $30,000 a year may be entitled to support if their spouse earns $75,000 annually but may not be entitled to support if their spouse earns $45,000. What makes the difference are the parties' circumstances including their income levels and the lifestyle they had while they were married. A spouse's age, education and employment experience also affect spousal support.

 

Article 15.2 (4) of the Divorce Act provides that in making an order for spousal support, "the Court shall take into consideration the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of each spouse, including:

(a) The length of time the spouses cohabitated;

(b) The functions performed by each spouse during cohabitation; and

(c) Any order, agreement or arrangement relating to support of either spouse".

 

Article 15.2 (6) of the Divorce Act goes on to state that a spousal support order should:

(a) Recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages to the spouses arising from the marriage or its breakdown;

(b) Apportion between the spouses any financial consequences arising from the care of any child of the marriage over and above any obligation for the support of any child of the marriage;

(c) Relieve any economic hardship of the spouses arising from the breakdown of the marriage; and,

(d) Insofar as practicable, promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse within a reasonable amount of time."

 

Spousal Support Guidelines exist and can be helpful in deciding how much spousal support should be paid and for how long, although in Quebec it is very rare for the Court to fix a term for support.

 

The Spousal Support advisory Guidelines (SSAG) can be consulted here:

http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/fl-lf/spousal-epoux/spag/index.html

 

For further information you may consult:

Heinerman v. Heinerman [1988] 86 N.S.R. (2d)

Linton v. Linton [1988] 11 R.F.L. (3d)

Moge v. Moge [1992] 3 R.C.S. 813

Bracklow v. Bracklow, [1999] 1 R.C.S. 420

L.S. c. A.C., 2006 QCCA 888

L.M.P. c. L.S., 2011 CSC 64

M.A. c. J.B., [2008] DF-082458, 2008 QCCS 4598

J.B. v. D. BA., [2012], DF 12170, 2012 QCCS 328

A.H. c. B.L., [2012], DF-121299, 2012 QCCS 2485

S.L. c. G.LA., [2010] DF-103104, 2010 QCCS 5659

L.F. c. M.T., [2013], DF-132086, 2013 QCCS 3728