Spousal Support

Spousal Support is more of an art than a science.

When you are separating or divorcing, there are many things you will need to consider before you and your former partner go your separate ways, including that of spousal support.  The law says that although you are separating, you may not be financially independent of each other right away, or ever.  You may be entitled to receive or be required to pay spousal support either short- or long-term.  The goal is likely to be working towards self-sufficiency for both parties over time.

The question of whether you will receive or be required to pay spousal support is not a simple question. There are many factors to consider, and it is mostly factually based – determined by you personal family situation. It is important that you talk to Stephanie about two questions: entitlement to support, then how much for how long. In short, the answer to the question is more of an art than a science.

Entitlement to spousal support

Entitlement is based on the legislation under which you are governed – Divorce Act if you are married or the provincial legislation if you are not married – as well as the court cases that were decided before you (case law). It is based on such things as need, employment circumstances, roles in child raising, length of relationship, and many more factors.

The question of entitlement is often a difficult conversation to have with your former partner because parties usually come to the table with opposite views of what the outcome should be – “I need support” vs. “I don’t want to pay support”.  Using either Mediation or the Collaborative Process, you may be able to have a constructive conversation about this otherwise often adversarial topic.  By working together, it is more likely that a mutually acceptable resolution can be achieved.  However, you may be in a position where court is necessary to arrive at resolution; in that case, we are able to assist you with this litigation process as well.

It is helpful if you complete our Spousal Support Questionnaire which can assist to determine your entitlement to receive or your obligation to provide spousal support.

Amount and Duration of Spousal Support

Once it is determined that one spouse is entitled to spousal support, then the question of how much for how long is considered. Things that can help are to create a budget click here for a sample budget, plug your numbers into the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, consider your employment prospects and history, and other such tools.  Again, when clients retain Stephanie’s services, parties will work together to get all the facts onto the table in an open manner.  At the outset, one challenge is often that of parties coming to the table with wrong assumptions about the other party’s expectations.  By opening the communication channels, often parties can arrive at numbers and duration which are mutually acceptable.

Work together towards a common agreement

Our lawyers’ goal for each client is that they are able to effectively manage their emotions, reduce unnecessary delays, and have the family realize a positive transition into their post-divorce lives working together to find mutually acceptable solutions.

The Next Step- Getting Started

In order to get started with your entire matter, you will need to complete our Consultation Guide.  Please bring this to your consultation as complete as possible.  The more information you provide to your lawyer, the more complete advice we will be able to provide at an early stage.  If you feel that certain portions of the questionnaire do not apply to you, or you have trouble completing certain sections, you may leave them blank.  On the final page of the questionnaire there is a checklist of items that may be required in order to advise you; please start to gather these documents and bring as many of them to your consultation as possible.

At your consultation your lawyer will talk to you about any further information or documentation that will be required.  As well, your consultation is designed to allow your lawyer to understand your situation further, and to ensure you understand your rights, obligations, and process choice options.  At the conclusion of your consultation you will have the option of how and when you proceed.  Some clients are ready to proceed immediately, and some need some time to think about their options and how they want to proceed, and some want the opportunity to speak with their former partner about the various options.  You decide the timing.  You and your lawyer will create an easily digestable action plan for the next step in your matter.

Please contact our office to schedule a consultation.