Spousal Support Guidelines in Edmonton: How Are Payments Determined?

Spousal Support Guidelines in Edmonton: How Are Payments Determined?

The end of a marriage may leave the separating spouses in different financial situations. Over the course of the marriage, the distribution of household labour may have placed one partner in a financially advantageous position, for example, while the other partner may have put their career on hold in order to care for children. In some cases, one partner may have been wholly dependent on the other, and may need support to transition to independent life as the marriage dissolves.

In some cases, spousal support may be ordered to relieve the financial challenges of the partner who is left in an economically disadvantaged position as a result of the marriage and subsequent divorce. To learn more, including how our Edmonton family lawyers might be able to help you calculate and obtain support, contact us today and schedule your initial consultation.

What Is Spousal Support?

Spousal support, governed by Alberta's Family Law Act and the Divorce Act of Canada, is a payment that one former spouse pays to the other in order to provide assistance with their financial transition out of the marriage. Spousal support may be paid in a lump sum, it may be divided over a series of ongoing payments for a set period of time, or it may be indefinite.

Unlike child support, the guidelines outlining spousal support are advisory, meaning there may be leeway in decision-making associated with how spousal support is calculated and paid.

Who Is Eligible for Spousal Support?

Questions of spousal support typically arise with regards to the end of a marriage or adult interdependent relationship. In Alberta, you may be considered to have been in an adult interdependent partnership if you have been in a relationship of interdependence with another adult for:

  • three years;
  • less than three years, with a signed Adult Interdependent Partnership Agreement; or
  • less than three years, if the two of you share a child.

Sharing a child with someone does not necessarily mean you may be eligible for spousal support. Typically, there must be proof of a relationship of substance between the two separating spouses. Contact our Edmonton family lawyers to discuss your particular situation.

The purpose of spousal support is to recognize and reconcile economic disadvantages one party may have incurred as a result of the marriage. Neither party's conduct - be it deemed good or bad - is taken into consideration. Spousal support is not intended to be a reward or punishment. It is aimed to provide support towards an equitable financial transition out of the partnership.

How is Spousal Support Calculated?

In order to calculate how much spousal support may be ordered, both parties must produce a comprehensive financial disclosure. This may include:

  • Tax returns dating back to at least three years
  • Notices of Assessment from the past three years
  • Proof of income, such as pay stubs, for the past tax year
  • A list of monthly expenses
  • A list of debts and assets
  • Proof of registration in educational institutions, if relevant
  • Proof of medical issues, if relevant
  • And more

When calculating spousal support, disparities in income alone may not warrant entitlement. Two main formulations guide the calculation of spousal support:

  1. Where there are no children, or the children are adults, the range may be calculated thus:
    1. Low end amount: Calculate the difference between the two parties; gross incomes. Multiply this amount by 0.015, then multiply that number by the years of the parties' cohabitation.
    2. High end amount: Calculate the difference between the two parties; gross incomes. Multiply this amount by 0.2, then multiply that number by the years of the parties' cohabitation.

The maximum that may be paid in spousal support would render the parties equal in terms of income.

  1. Where there are children, the calculations are more complicated, and may be conducted in tandem with child support calculations. You may be able to estimate a general amount by adding each party's net disposable income (after childcare expenses, taxes, and deductions). In some cases, between 40-46% of the combined net disposable income may be paid to the receiver spouse. This amount may vary significantly, depending on where the children live, how parenting time and decision-making responsibility is shaped, and more.

In order to learn more about spousal support, including what may be available in your case, contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Edmonton family lawyers. We are here to discuss your particular circumstances, and provide insights on what may be possible for you.

Contact Our Edmonton Family Lawyers Today For a Consultation

Spousal support is intended to recognize economic disparities that may have arisen as a result of a marriage, and to provide the disadvantaged partner with support as they transition out of the partnership. Where relevant, it may be calculated in conjunction with child support.

Many different factors may influence a person's eligibility for spousal support, as well as the amount that may be ordered. Contact our Edmonton family lawyers at Verhaeghe Law to discuss the details of your particular case, and learn how we might be able to serve you.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of family law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta family lawyer.

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