Spousal Support

Spousal Support Lawyer In Sherwood Park & Edmonton

At Kurie Law Group we understand that during a separation, you are leaving the life you had built behind and you are concerned about your financial future.

Our team of lawyers is here to help you determine if you will get/pay spousal support, how long you will be paying/receiving spousal support and the amount of spousal support you may pay/receive.

Some of the common questions we see are:

  • What is spousal support?
  • Will I get spousal support? If so, how much?
  • Can I get spousal support if we are not married?
  • Can I get spousal support after my divorce is final?
  • How many years will I get spousal support for?
  • How long should I pay spousal support?
  • Do I have to pay spousal support?
  • What qualifies for spousal support?
  • Can I change my spousal support?
  • Can spousal support be stopped?
  • How can I enforce spousal support?
  • What happens if I stop paying spousal support?
  • My ex cheated, does that mean he has to pay support?
  • Do I have to pay support from my pension?
  • Can I receive more spousal support payments after they end?

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support is money potentially paid by the higher earning spouse/partner to a lower earning spouse/partner to financially assist them following a divorce or separation.

Will I get Spousal Support? How is support calculated? How long will Spousal Support be paid?

Calculating spousal support is difficult to calculate with certainty. Many factors are considered to determine what is a fair payment in each case.

Both the Divorce Act (Canada) and the Family Law Act set guidelines on how spousal support is to be determined and approached. Spousal support is meant to:

  • To compensate a spouse who sacrifices his or her ability to earn income during the marriage;
  • Recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages of the spouses coming out of the marriage or occurring because the marriage has ended;
  • Help divide up any financial costs arising from the care of the children over and above the child support;
  • Reduce the financial hardship of the spouse that may have taken place because of the end of the marriage; and
  • Encourage the spouses to become able to support themselves within a reasonable period of time.

The duration and amount of spousal support is determined by many factors which include the following:

  • How long you were living together for;
  • Your ages at separation;
  • Whether you have worked during your relationship; and
  • How much child support you pay.

In most cases, special software such as Childview and Divorce Mate are needed in order to calculate the potential spousal support that needs to be paid and the duration of the payments. These programs calculate a low end and a high end for support, it takes all of the above listed factors and helps determine an appropriate range of support. There are two different formulas that are used, a Without Children and a With Children Formula. Example:

Without Children formula applies

Low end support

  1. Find the difference between the gross incomes of each of the parties.
  2. Multiply that difference by .015
  3. Multiply that number by the number of years the parties lived together.

High end amount:

  1. Find the difference between the gross incomes of the two parties.
  2. Multiply that number by .02
  3. Multiply that number by the number of years the parties lived together. The result is the high end amount.

HOWEVER, the most that will be paid is the amount that will result in both parties having equal net incomes.

The With Children Formula

When you and your spouse/partner have dependent children, the formula for calculating how much spousal support you pay/receive is more complicated. In these cases, we use special software to calculate the amounts, which factor in any payable child support.

The formula calculates the net disposable incomes of each party, after paying taxes, deductions and the children’s costs, and then calculates the amounts of spousal support to be paid. There are variations to this formula which include:

  1. If the party who receives the support has the child(ren) in their primary care;
  2. Shared custody/parenting time;
  3. Split custody/parenting time; or
  4. The children primarily reside with the party who will be paying the spousal support.

Child Support Takes Priority Over Spousal Support, the Court usually gives priority to child support over spousal support. If there is not enough money to pay both child and spousal support, then the spousal support may be reduced. In those cases, though, it may be possible for the Court to increase the spousal support after the children are no longer dependent.

Can I change my Spousal Support?

If you are paying support and wish to change the amount of support you pay or stop paying all together, you can only do so if the following occurs:

  • You have an Order from the Court ordering that support payments stop;
  • You and your spouse agree to change your agreement and it is done appropriately;
  • Your current Order or Agreement conditions have been met and you are no longer required to pay; or
  • There has been a material change in circumstances that necessitates a re-evaluation of child support.

The Court will only change a spousal support Order if there is a justified and important change in your circumstances such as the following:

  • The variation Order is needed to relieve economic hardship;
  • The economic hardship arose from a material change in circumstances;
  • The economic hardship and/or a change in circumstances are related in some way to the marriage; and
  • If the parties had known that the change in circumstances would occur at the time they entered into the previous spousal support order that order would have been different from what it was.

My ex-spouse cheated, does that mean he has to pay support?

Should your ex-spouse/ex-partner cheat, the Court will not use this information when deciding whether or not to grant spousal support and the amount to be paid. A spousal support order is not intended to punish a spouse or to reward a spouse for how they behaved in a relationship.