Spousal Support

Spousal Support

Spousal Support is a stream of income which flows from the spouse with the higher income to the spouse with the lower income after their separation. This stream of income is intended, in part, to maintain a similar lifestyle for both spouses after separation, and to compensate the recipient spouse for their contributions to the marriage which have benefited the payor spouse, and which have reduced the recipients ability to earn an adequate or equivalent income to the payor spouse, and to apportion between the spouses the consequences of the marriage and it's breakdown.

Where the parties cannot agree on the amount, spousal support will be determined by the court on a case by case basis with reference to a complex mathematical formula referred to as the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG).

The SSAG formula take account of a number of variables including the incomes of the parties, the age of the recipient spouse and children at the time of separation, the custody of the children after separation, and the length of the parties cohabitation being a period of time which may be substantially longer than the actual length of the marriage. Where the spouses have cohabited for a period of 20 years the SSAG formula recommends an indefinite order of spousal support.

Spousal support is one of the most bitterly contested issues in family law. The court must balance the recipients need for support against the payors ability to pay. However; unlike child support which must by definition end at some point, spousal support may be a life-long obligation that can attache itself to the payor's estate after death. Spousal support is taxable in the hands of the recipient and tax deductible to for the payor.

Spousal support payments are enforced by the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) who are empowered to garnish the payments directly from the payors income source. If the recipient agrees the parties may withdraw from FRO enforcement in favour of direct payments to the recipient secured by way of post dated cheques.

It is very important that payor keep up to date with their spousal support payments because these payments can have a significant impact upon the recipients household income and because the recipient is in need of support.

However where the spouses circumstances change, Bruce Gilpin recommends that they seek an immediate adjustment in spousal support to either increase the payments or to reduce them so that the payor may avoid an accumulated bebt that is no longer justified under the SSAG and for which the payor may have no hope of paying.

Before making any changes to your family status or before signing any legal documents consult Bruce Gilpin to be fully advised of your legal rights and entitlements. No question is too small and all inquiries are welcomed. Tell a friend. He'll be standing by. Call today.


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