Spousal support is one of the most complicated areas for separating families for several reasons:
- No formula for calculating spousal support: Unlike child support, there is no formula for calculating spousal support in Ontario. The amount and duration of spousal support is determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account several factors, including the length of the marriage or cohabitation, the income and earning potential of both spouses, and the standard of living during the marriage or cohabitation.
- Emotions can run high: Spousal support can be a contentious issue, particularly when one spouse feels they are entitled to a certain amount of support or the other spouse feels they are being asked to pay too much.
- Complex financial issues: Spousal support can involve complex financial issues, particularly if one spouse has significant assets or income. Determining a fair and reasonable amount of spousal support may require a thorough analysis of each spouse’s financial situation, which can be time-consuming and complicated.
- Changing circumstances: Spousal support arrangements can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income or employment. This means that spousal support arrangements may need to be re-evaluated periodically, which can be challenging if the parties do not agree on the amount of support that should be paid.
People often have questions such as:
- What happens if my ex-spouse remarries or starts a new relationship?
- Can spousal support be modified?
- Can spousal support be terminated?
- What happens if my ex-spouse fails to pay spousal support?
- What tax implications are there for spousal support?
Types of Spousal Support
There are two types of spousal support in Ontario: compensatory and non-compensatory.
Compensatory spousal support is paid to a spouse who has made a significant contribution to the other spouse’s career or education. This can include support for a spouse who gave up their career to raise children or support a spouse who supported the other spouse through education or training.
Non-compensatory spousal support is paid to a spouse who is in financial need, regardless of their contribution to the other spouse’s career or education. This tend to apply in shorter relationships, when there are no children, or when both spouses have good sources of income.
Factors Considered in Determining Spousal Support
- The amount and duration of spousal support is determined based on several factors, including:
- The length of the marriage or cohabitation;
- The age and health of both spouses;
- The income and earning potential of both spouses;
- The financial means of both spouses;
- The standard of living during the marriage or cohabitation;
- The roles each spouse played during the marriage or cohabitation; and
- Any agreements made between the spouses.
Calculating Spousal Support
Unlike child support, there is no formula for calculating spousal support in Ontario. The amount and duration of spousal support is determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the factors listed above.
The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG) provide a framework for calculating spousal support, but they are not mandatory. The SSAG are used by judges, lawyers, and mediators to help determine a fair and reasonable amount of spousal support.
Once I have helped you understand the law and the factors that are considered in determining spousal support, I provide you with creative and out-of-the box solutions that make sense for your family to achieve a fair and reasonable outcome.