Spousal support or alimony are payments that a spouse or common law partner pays to their former partner after separation or divorce. Spousal support is generally calculated based on the federal spousal support guidelines, which guidelines factor in the difference between the couple’s net incomes. The guidelines are only a starting point and other factors, such as the length of the marriage or common law relationship, the involvement of children, and the role each spouse played during the marriage or common law relationship are other relevant factors that the court may consider when ordering spousal support payments. The court may also consider age, sex, skills, education and other issues that may affect you or the other spouse’s ability to generate an income.
For example, spousal support at the higher end of the guidelines may be ordered in the case where one spouse sacrificed a career to care for the children or to support the advancement of the other spouse. The court may order compensatory support typically when one spouse raised the children instead of working outside the home. Non-compensatory support is geared towards meeting the financial needs of each spouse.
While undergoing a divorce, you’ll still have bills to pay but you may only have a single source of income and your additional equity may be tied up in the family property until the parties are able to come to an agreement or obtain a court order to divide property. Temporary or interim spousal support can be applied for in the Supreme Court of British Columbia as soon as the divorce petition is filed and can help you with living expenses until the judge grants a final order or an agreement is reached.
Permanent support provides a long-term solution and may be ordered by the court for a variety of reasons, including relieving economic hardship, promoting self-sufficiency and apportioning the financial costs related to childcare duties.
If you encounter a material change in circumstances that jeopardizes your ability to pay spousal support, for example, remarriage, a disability or involuntary unemployment, you may be able to apply to increase, reduce, or end your spousal support obligations. You must prove that the change of circumstance is materially significant, unforeseen and continuous.
Spousal support may be granted but it is not guaranteed. Disputes often arise over how much and for how long spousal support payments will be made. Contact the experienced lawyers at Nirwan Law Corporation to learn more about your rights and obligations. Whether you are looking for the best approach to secure support or are seeking relief from an unfair obligation, Nirwan Law Corporation lawyers can help.