Under the Divorce Act, a married or divorce spouse may apply for spousal support. When a divorce has been granted, the spousal support claim must be pursued under the Divorce Act. Under the Family Law Act, an eligible spouse who may apply for spousal support is defined different to include  either of two persons who are married to each other or have entered into a marriage that is voidable or void in good faith; either of two persons who are not married and have cohabited continuously for a period of at least three years in a conjugal relationship; and either of two persons who are not married but who are in a relationship of some permanence if they are the natural or adoptive parents of a child. Once divorced, however, neither party may apply for spousal support under the Family Law Act.

We have experience dealing with complex income disputes in the context of spousal support. We handle and defend a range of situations where the payor has other sources of income which may be sought to be included for spousal support calculations. Some of these other sources of income include business income, RRSPs, stock options, and rental income. There are also important tax benefits associated with spousal support in the context of these other sources of income.

Is the conduct of a spouse relevant?

Under the Divorce Act, spousal misconduct relating to the marriage is not a consideration in making a spousal support order. The Family Law Act, however, provides that a court may consider spousal misconduct in rare circumstances where the conduct is so unconscionable as to constitute an obvious and gross repudiation of the relationship.

What if the person I am paying spousal support for is in a new relationship?

A former spouse is not disentitled to his or her support for the mere fact that the spouse has entered into a new relationship. There may, however, be less need for support as a result of the new partner’s contribution.

How much spousal support and for how long?

The quantum and duration of spousal support is not provided in the Divorce Act or Family Law Act. Generally, the standard of living during the marriage is the appropriate measure of the level of support.

We handle complex situations where a party may seek to impute income from other sources to the payor spouse.

What is retroactive support?

Depending on the circumstances, a spouse may claim spousal support for a period before the application.

What is lump-sum spousal support?

In some cases, a payor may consider a one time lump-sum spousal support award. Special tax rules apply with these types of arrangements.

A complicated formula is used to quantify the amount and duration of a spousal support award. This formula is further modified when children are involved.  We handle a range of complex income, tax and spousal support disputes.

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