You may wonder if you are entitled to spousal support or if you are required to pay spousal support. Many factors will affect this decision which will be discussed later on this page. If you have any questions or immediate concerns, please feel free to call our office and book an appointment with our Calgary Spousal Support Lawyers at (403) 476 – 2011 or book a consultation online here.
What is Spousal Support?
The court may order spousal support when one or both of the partners apply for a divorce. It may also become applicable when the partners have ended an Adult Interdependent Relationship.
To be in an Adult Interdependent Relationship, you will need to fall under one or more of the following:
- If both adults are in a relationship for more than 3 years
- Less than 3 years if you have signed an Adult Interdependent Relationship Agreement
- Less than 3 years if the two of you have had a child or children
The purpose of spousal support is not to punish or reward either of the partners. Instead, it is used as a mechanism to balance the economic advantages or disadvantages of either of the spouses after or during the period of their separation/divorce. The objective of a spousal support is to reduce the economic hardships for the spouses after a marriage and offer the spouses adequate time to support themselves in the future.
What are the factors affecting Spousal Support
Based on the federal Divorce Act, spousal support is most likely paid when there is a substantial difference between the spouse’s income after they separate. This may not be the primary and conclusive factor when deciding spousal support. If one of the spouses holds more assets than the others then it may also affect the issue of spousal support.
As stated by the Government of Canada Department of Justice, other factors a judge may consider that can affect spousal support may include:
1. The financial means and needs of both spouses;
2. The length of the marriage;
3. The roles of each spouse during their marriage;
4. The effect of those roles and the breakdown of the marriage on both spouses’ current financial situations;
5. The care of the children;
6. The goal of encouraging a spouse who receives support to be self-sufficient in a reasonable period; and
7. Any orders, agreements or arrangements already made about spousal support”
Since Canada has a no-fault divorce law, the reason the marriage ended will not affect the legal requirement of the former spouse to support the other.
Paying Both Child Support and Spousal Support
If child support is being paid alongside with spousal support, the judge will consider whether or not the payments of spousal support will affect the child support payment in any way. Child support will always have the highest priority compared to spousal support. This will be an essential consideration for the judge when deciding how much you are legally obligated to pay.
How much Spousal Support do I need to pay?
The judge will determine if one of the spouses will require (or entitled to) spousal support. If one of them does need spousal support, the factors above will be considered. The payment amount will be based on how long the relationship lasted for, the difference in income levels and whether or not any children were involved.
The calculations of spousal support are complex and require an evaluation of the current circumstances at hand. If you want an estimate of your spousal support payment, this calculator will give you some idea; however, the Court is not bound by such calculation.
We strongly suggest you meet with our Calgary Spousal Support Lawyers to help you and to find the best outcome. For more information please call us at (403) 476-2011 or book a consultation online.
Spousal Support FAQs
What is spousal support, and when is it awarded in Calgary?
Spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, is where one spouse provides financial assistance to the other following a divorce or separation. It is typically awarded when there is a significant income disparity between the spouses, and one spouse requires financial support to maintain standard of living post-separation to help with economic hardship after the breakdown of the marriage or separation. The purpose is to help the economically disadvantaged spouse transition to financial independence.
How is spousal support calculated in Calgary?
Calculating spousal support in Calgary can be complex, as it depends on various factors. Courts consider factors such as the length of the marriage or relationship, each spouse’s income and earning potential, their financial needs and obligations, the roles they played during the marriage, and their respective contributions to the family’s financial well-being. While there are guidelines and formulas in Alberta, they serve as a starting point, and the court may deviate from them based on the specific circumstances of the case.
Can spousal support be awarded for a limited duration in Calgary?
Yes, spousal support can be awarded for a limited duration in Calgary. It may be temporary, such as during the time a spouse needs to acquire education or job training to become self-supporting. Alternatively, it can be awarded for a specific number of years, depending on the circumstances of the case. The goal is to provide financial assistance until the recipient spouse can reasonably support themselves.
Can spousal support be modified in Calgary?
Yes, spousal support orders can be modified in Calgary if there is a significant change in circumstances that justifies a modification. For example, if the receiving spouse’s financial situation improves or the paying spouse experiences a decrease in income due to factors beyond their control, a court may consider modifying the support order. Modifications can be requested through the court or by agreement between the parties.
Is spousal support taxable in Calgary?
Yes, spousal support is taxable income for the receiving spouse and tax-deductible for the paying spouse in Calgary, in accordance with Canada’s federal tax laws. It’s crucial for both parties to understand and plan for the tax implications of spousal support when negotiating or agreeing to support terms.
Can spousal support be waived or negotiated in a prenuptial agreement in Calgary?
Yes, spousal support can be waived or negotiated in a prenuptial agreement, also known as a marriage or cohabitation agreement. However, for such agreements to be legally enforceable, they must meet specific legal requirements and be considered fair and reasonable at the time of enforcement. Consulting with a family lawyer is advisable to ensure that any prenuptial agreement complies with the applicable laws.
What happens if a spouse fails to pay court-ordered spousal support in Calgary?
If a spouse fails to comply with a court-ordered spousal support obligation in Calgary, the receiving spouse can seek enforcement through legal means. Enforcement options may include wage garnishment, bank account seizure, or involving the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP) in Alberta, which specializes in enforcing support orders and ensuring compliance with court-issued orders.
Can spousal support orders be enforced across provincial or national borders in Canada?
Yes, spousal support orders can be enforced across provincial or national borders in Canada. The Interjurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Act allows for the enforcement of support orders between different provinces or territories. This ensures that support obligations remain valid and enforceable, regardless of where the parties reside within Canada.
Can common-law spouses receive spousal support in Calgary?
Yes, common-law spouses in Calgary can be eligible for spousal support if they meet the legal criteria for entitlement. Factors such as the length of the common-law relationship, financial dependency, and other relevant circumstances will be considered by the court when determining spousal support eligibility.
Is spousal support automatically granted in Calgary upon divorce?
Spousal support is not automatically granted upon divorce in Calgary. It is typically awarded based on the specific circumstances of each case. Either spouse can request spousal support as part of the divorce proceedings, but the court will assess the merits of the request and make a determination based on the relevant factors, ensuring that any award aligns with the best interests of both parties involved.