Separation and divorce present stressful, exhausting, uncertain times. The price of groceries,rent and heating bills are basic costs of living we all have, whether we’re going though tough emotional periods or not. Spouses with low or no income will get very little patience from landlords and heating companies. In order to survive financially they may require spousal support or alimony.
Spousal support is money paid to one partner from the ex-spouse, when the couple is divorced or separated. The money paid is from the higher to the lower wage earner whether that person is male or female.
You may apply for spousal support if:
- You have lived together in an intimate relationship for 3 or more years
- You have lived together in an intimate relationship for less than 3 years and have had a child together
- Couples who are married
Spousal support payments may be decided upon by the divorced or separated couple themselves or with the help of a family lawyer or mediator. If the couple is unable to reach an acceptable agreement in this way, a judge will make the final assessment. The judge makes decisions regarding whether to award spousal support or not, and if so, how much and for how long. This will require a variety of details to be taken into consideration, including:
- Length of the marriage or intimate relationship
- Whether or not there are children
- Age and health of the former spouse
- Age and health of the children
- Amount of income and assets of each
- Wage earning ability
- Living expenses and lifestyle accustomed to
- Violence or abuse
Free spousal support calculator linked here: mysupportcalculator.ca
Although a spouse may be awarded support payments, they still have a responsibility to provide for themselves to the best of their ability.
Spousal payments made by the paying partner are tax deductible. Payments received are taxable income.
There is no hard and fast rule for deciding spousal support payments
Depending on the needs and assets of the former couple, spousal support may or may not be required. The couple may come to agreement on their own or with the help of their family lawyer or mediator. If the decision is made by court order, many factors are considered before finalization. A spouse, receiving benefits has a responsibility to provide for themselves. A newly self sufficient spouse, formerly receiving benefits may no longer be eligible for support.
Whether or not spousal payments are awarded and the details of the agreement have far reaching implications for divorcing and separating partners. Whether you pay or receive benefits, it is important to know your rights and the choices that are available to you. To find out more about spousal support or to answer any questions you may have in any area regarding divorce or separation, call The Hilbing Family Lawyers at 905-264-7155 for a consultation.