Spousal support may be a factor in your divorce or separation. When married or common-law couples split, the party with the higher income may be required to make support payments to mitigate the financial impact of the separation. These payments are known as spousal support.
Before going ahead with a spousal agreement you should seek advice from a family lawyer. Legal advice is crucial when dealing with a complex issue like spousal support. Spousal support is affected by a great many factors. Just because a spouse is in a financially weaker position doesn’t mean they are automatically entitled to support. Furthermore, the reasons a marriage ended do not change the legal obligation to support the other spouse after a divorce.
The federal Divorce Act sets out the rules to which spousal support will be determined. Alberta’s provincial laws apply to common-law couples and to married couples until they apply for a divorce. These provincial rules are similar to the federal rules. If a spousal agreement cannot be made, a judge can order what spousal support will be paid. The Divorce Act sets out certain factors and objectives a judge will consider when deciding whether a spouse is entitled to support when they divorce. These include:
- the financial means, needs and circumstances of both spouses.
- the length of the marriage
- the roles of each spouse during their marriage
- the effect the roles had on a spouse’s current financial situation
- the effect the roles had on the ongoing care of the children
- the encouragement of self-sufficiency within a reasonable period of time
- any order, agreement, or arrangement already made about spousal support
- any child support being paid by either spouse
When determining spousal support payments, a divorce lawyer can help you sort through the federal and provincial laws that will affect your arrangements. Richmond Tymchuk Family Law LLP’s family lawyers will ensure that you are getting what you need, and are avoiding unnecessary payments.