Spousal support and property division can be two of the most difficult areas of family law.
Spousal support determination in British Columbia is complex because there are many different conditions to take into consideration including the occupation of each spouse during the marriage, the length of the marriage, age, physical health and the career potential of each party. Spousal support may be awarded if it is determined that one party:
- Suffered an economic disadvantage during the marriage
- Requires financial relief
- Contributed to the care and upbringing of the children and family during the marriage
Spousal support is provided to promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse. But, sometimes need is enough for the Court to award spousal support.
The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines
Once a spouse’s entitlement to spousal support is determined, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines provide a mathematical formula that produces a range of the amount and duration of spousal support depending on the age of the spouses, the incomes and the length of the relationship. The guidelines do not provide a specific payment amount; rather, they are used as a starting point and general guide. Because the circumstances of every marriage or common-law marriage are unique, spousal support determinations can vary greatly from one case to another. When deciding who should pay support and how much it should be, a judge will consider the provincial Family Relations Act and the Federal Divorce Act. If you were never legally married, your spousal support order must be based on the Family Relations Act. Spousal support is taxable to the recipient and deductible to the payor if the payments are periodic, e.g., monthly, and they are made pursuant to a separation agreement or a court order. Often, disputes arise over whether, how much and for how long spousal support will be paid, and these disputes may need to be resolved by court order. At Courtyard Law, we work to achieve positive outcomes for clients involved in spousal support proceedings in British Columbia. If you have questions about your liability or eligibility for support following a separation, our experienced family law lawyers can assist you.