Spousal Support Law

After a divorce or separation, one spouse may be required to pay spousal support to the other spouse by Court order or through an agreement. The objectives for a spousal support order are to:

  • recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages to the spouses arising from the marriage or its breakdown;
  • apportion between the spouses any financial consequences arising from the care of any child of the marriage over and above any obligation for child support;
  • relieve any economic hardship of the spouses arising from the breakdown of the marriage or spousal relationship; and
  • promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse within a reasonable period of time.

These objectives could overlap, and no objective is more important than the others.

Spousal support is not always guaranteed. Determining whether or not a partner is entitled to spousal support depends on a variety of factors, such as how long the spouses cohabited, the roles each spouse played during the relationship, and whether there are already any orders or agreements on the issue. There could be compensatory, non-compensatory, or contractual grounds for entitlement.

When calculating how much support should be paid, Courts often use the formulas provided by the Federal Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines  to help determine a range. Choosing the right formula and locating an amount in the range can be complex. There are a number of factual considerations involved, many of which may be debatable or negotiable. The formulas suggested in the Guidelines can also determine whether a spouse is required to pay spousal support indefinitely or for a limited period of time.

Issues surrounding entitlement, amount, and duration of spousal support can be a grey area. A number of factual considerations are involved that may be unique to each relationship. Because of this, Courts can exercise a great deal of discretion on these applications.

At Jiwa Law Corporation, our family lawyers are highly experienced and can guide you through the calculations, obtain accurate financial information from your spouse, and fight for your best interests both in and out of the courtroom.

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