Breakdown of a personal relationship can be disheartening and overwhelming for anyone. Our experiences are often influenced by our gender. Men often have a unique experience when going through separation or divorce. Here are 10 common questions asked by men in family matters:
1. My spouse and I separated last month. How long will I have to wait to get a divorce?
Answer: The three grounds for divorce according to the Divorce Act are: separation for a period of one year, adultery and cruelty. Most people tend to use the one-year separation route. The spouses must have lived separately and apart for no less than one year to obtain a Divorce Judgment, but the divorce action can be started at any time following separation prior to the expiry of one year.
2. Can I get a divorce without the consent of my wife?
Answer: Yes, it is possible to get a divorce without the consent of your spouse as long you can establish one of the grounds for divorce:
i. living separate and apart for a year,
ii. cruelty, or
3. How much do I need to pay in child support and spousal support?
Answer: The amount of child support and spousal support payment varies depending on several factors. Factors to consider in spousal support calculation are: the financial means, needs and circumstances of both spouses, the length of time the spouses have lived together, the roles of each spouse during their marriage, the effect of those roles and the breakdown of the marriage on both spouses’ current financial positions, the ongoing responsibilities for care of the children, and any previous orders, agreements or arrangements already made about spousal support. Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines set out formulas for suggested quantum and determination of spousal support. Although they are not binding, Alberta Courts are more and more tending to order spousal support in amounts as determined using the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines calculations.
The factors considered during child support calculation are income of both parents, needs of the children, the children’s standard of living before divorce or separation, age of the children, the family structure and the current parenting arrangement. The Federal Child Support Guideline is a mandatory legislated tool used to determine child support amounts, both in terms of basic support and contribution by the parents to extra expenses for the children (which are called section 7 expenses).
4. My wife cheated on me multiple times during our marriage. Do I still need to pay spousal support?
Answer: Adultery does not have any impact on spousal support calculation. While pursuant to the Divorce Act, the breakdown of a marriage can be established by adultery, spousal support entitlement or amount, are not at all affected by adultery.
5. I am about to sign a pre-nup with my fiancé. Can I hide some assets from her?
Answer: If the financial disclosure is incomplete, the pre-nuptial agreement could be held unenforceable and/or unconscionable later. Full financial disclosure is necessary to safeguard a pre-nuptial agreement from judicial intervention.
6. There is an EPO (Emergency Protection Order) in place currently which prohibits me from contacting my ex-girlfriend. But it says nothing about our children. My ex-girlfriend will not let me see our children at all, the children live with my ex-girlfriend. Can I visit my children?
Answer: If the EPO prohibits you from contacting your ex-girlfriend but not your children, you may be able to obtain a court order to visit your children by bringing a parenting application. For any questions regarding parenting application while an EPO is in place, please contact us.
7. I just filed for bankruptcy. How will it affect my support obligations and division of matrimonial property?
Answer: An Order of Discharge does not release the bankrupt from spousal or child support obligations. However, it will impact the bankrupt’s claims for the division of matrimonial property. For more information about the role bankruptcy could play in your family matter, do not hesitate to contact our Calgary divorce lawyers or a bankruptcy trustee.
8. My wife’s current income is significantly higher than my income and we do not have any children. She also earned more than me during our marriage. Do I still need to pay spousal support since I am the man?
Answer: Spousal support is usually paid to help the lower-income spouse regardless of his/her gender. Income is one of the several factors considered in spousal support calculations and sometimes the woman pays spousal support.
9. I was formally employed in the oil and gas sector and have been unemployed for 2 years. I finally found a job in my field in Toronto. I tried to find similar jobs in Calgary without any luck for 2 years. I have a 50/50 parenting arrangement with my ex-girlfriend for my daughter. My ex-girlfriend will not approve of me moving to Toronto with my daughter. Can I move to Toronto with my daughter?
Answer: To relocate with your daughter, you will likely have to bring a mobility application. The court will consider all the factors related to the best interest of the child and ensuring maximum possible contact with the child and the parents to the extent that such contact is in the child’s best interests. For more information about mobility applications, contact us.
10. I just lost my job due to low oil prices and I pay my ex-girlfriend $700 per month in child support. Can I pay less child support now that I am going to be unemployed?
Answer: You may apply to the Court to decrease your child support payment at any time that there is a material decrease to your Guideline Income. You should not automatically reduce ordered child support payments without the consent of the recipient, and it is advised that for any reduction to child support payments, a Consent Variation Order is obtained. You should notify the recipient parent of any material changes to your income at the time such change occurs – do not delay. For any questions regarding the variation of your support obligations, contact us.
When it comes to your divorce, you’re bound to have a lot of questions. They say that ‘there is no such thing as a dumb question’ and that is especially true when it comes to your legal rights and responsibilities.