You may be contemplating or in the midst of separation and wondering “what is spousal support? Will I have to pay spousal support? Will I receive spousal support?” As with many things in law, the immediate answer is maybe or it depends.
Spousal support, which can also be referred to as alimony or maintenance, is money paid by one spouse to the other to help financially support them coming out of a relationship or to compensate them for sacrifices they made of their career or financial well-being during the relationship.
The first step is to determine if you are entitled to receive spousal support or if your spouse is entitled to receive spousal support payments from you. Not everyone is entitled to spousal support and there are many factors to be considered, including how long the parties lived together, the parties’ present financial circumstances and if any career or financial sacrifices were made during the relationship. It is common for a spouse who stayed home with the children and sacrificed their education or career advancement to be entitled to receive spousal support. It is also typical for the spouse with a lower income to be entitled to receive spousal support. However, every case is different and all the specific factors of your case must be considered.
The next step is to determine the amount of spousal support to be paid. The amount is determined in consideration of the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. These guidelines are not law, but is used by the Court to determine the amount of spousal support that should be paid. The guidelines’ help parties or the Court calculate the amount of spousal support that should be paid.
Another question to be determined is the length of time that spousal support should be paid. The length of time that spousal support will be payable is based on the circumstances of the parties, including the amount of spousal support being paid, the length of the relationship, if there are children and the age of the children. The spouse who is receiving spousal support is required to work towards becoming self-sufficient. Often a party will want to know the date when they are no longer required to pay spousal support, which is referred to as an end date. Not all spousal support orders or spousal support agreements have end dates. If a spousal support order or agreement does not have an end date, it is common that there will be a review date.
Calculating spousal support is more complex than calculating child support and there is a lot of discretion involved in the amount and duration of spousal support. Crystal Robertson can help you determine the correct amount of spousal support that should be paid and the length of time it should be paid for.
My spouse has been ordered to pay child support, but is not paying, what can I do?"If you have a child support order or agreement, you can register it with the Maintenance Enforcement, which can collect child support directly from your spouse. If your spouse continues to refuse to pay, the Maintenance Enforcement Office can suspend their driver’s licence or passport and garnish their wages. If you would like to register with Maintenance Enforcement, you can do so here.
My spouse has remarried, do I still pay child support for my children in their care?"Very likely. Child support can be paid by more than two parents in the cases where a third adult has stood in the place of a parent to a child. That relationship may create a requirement for support to be paid. In the end, the Court will apportion the amount of support to be paid by each parent depending on their incomes and other factors.