Spousal Support Lawyers in Strathmore, AB Making a Difference for Clients
The end of a relationship can not only be emotional, and it can be detrimental to an individual’s financial well-being. This scenario can occur in a traditional marriage or an adult interdependent relationship. If one party has been the primary source of income for the household, the other party will have just lost most of its monetary authority. In this case, a court may order spousal or partner support payments from the spouse/partner who had provided financial support (known as the payor party) to the spouse/partner who had less or no income (known as the receiving party).
In Alberta, spousal or partner support is meant to recognize a few different aspects that may happen in the aftermath of a divorce. For example:
- Advantages or disadvantages one party may suffer due to a newfound lack of income
- Easing the financial burden that the disadvantaged spouse or partner may have accrued during the divorce, such as court fees or lawyer fees
- Child care not explicitly included in a child support document
- Give the lesser advantaged party time to find a way to support themselves independently
Either party’s behavior during the marriage that may have contributed to the divorce itself is not to be considered for determining which party receives spousal support or adult interdependent partner support. The support is a form of assistance and is not meant to be a reward or a penalty to either side.
What is the Overall Goal of Spousal or Adult Interdependent Partner Support?
The Canadian Divorce Act and the Family Law Act of Alberta both suggest spousal or adult interdependent partner assistance for the following reasons:
- To recognize that each person has the potential to make or lose money as a result of the divorce’s events;
- The custodial parent may be subject to additional financial obligations not covered by child support;
- To recognize that one side may experience more financial troubles as a result of the divorce than the other;
- To allow adequate time for each party to secure their own financial independence.
What Factors Are Taken Into Account When Determining Spousal or Adult Interdependent Partner Support?
How Much Must Payor Pay a Receiving Spouse or Partner?
First, a judge must determine whether the spouse/partner or partner claiming child support is eligible. The requesting partner will not receive assistance if the court decides they are ineligible. Suppose they are entitled to help, and the judge grants it. In this case, the judge will examine the factors associated with that one party’s detriment to determine the amount of assistance to be received.
To assess which spouse/partner may be entitled to pay or receive Spousal or Adult Interdependent Partner support, the court requires the couple to be financially and economically transparent with each other and the court. During this time, a court will request the following:
- Each partner’s most recent three years of complete tax returns
- A tax status form is known as a “Notice of Assessment” for each of the past three years
- Pay stubs or another form of income proof for the current tax year
- Receipts or lists proving monthly expenses
- List of all assets and debts
- Proof of medical issue and/or proof of registration at an educational institution that prevents you from being able to support yourself financially
Judges can refer to several spousal or adult interdependent support guidelines in determining the amount of assistance the requesting party will receive. In most cases, special software is required to calculate the order quantity. Different formulas depend on whether children are involved, whether child support is a factor, and the payer’s and recipient’s gross annual income. A shorthand for understanding the range that may be required:
Low-End amount: Find the difference between the gross incomes of each party. Multiply that difference by .015. Multiply that number by the number of years the parties have lived together.
High-end amount: Find the difference between the gross incomes of the two parties. Multiply that number by .02. Multiply that number by the number of years the parties lived together.
For How Long Must a Payor Pay a Receiving Spouse or Partner?
A payor who shares no children with the receiving party may be ordered to pay for a maximum of one year per each that the parties lived together. The court can order that a payor party, without children, pay support to a recipient party for a maximum of one year per year the parties had lived together. However, the amount of time ordered is usually around ½ year per year the parties cohabitated. For example, if the parties lived together for 20 years, support can be ordered to be paid for anywhere between 10 to 20 years.
How Do Children Affect the Amount/Time of Support Ordered?
The Court determines the period during which the paying party must pay support fees differently, whether there are children involved or not. If there are no children between the parties, six months to one year of support is usually ordered for each year the parties have lived together.
If children are involved, you can calculate an approximate amount by taking the net disposable incomes of each of the parties, after taxes, deductions, and childcare expenses, to leave 40-46% of the total to the support recipient. Calculating support with child support is complicated and takes special software to calculate correctly. You must contact a lawyer if you want more specific information about how much should be paid. The amount will also vary depending on whether or not custody is shared or split or if the children also reside with the payor of support. Child support will take precedence in cases combining child support and spousal or adult interdependent partner support in which the payor cannot pay both.
What Do I Do Next?
Divorce, separation, custody, and support are complicated topics that are almost impossible to deal with alone. Whether you and your partner split amicably or vehemently, once a court begins to order money to exchange hands, things can often sour if mismanaged. Each case is different, so it remains difficult to give blanket statements that will satisfy your individual questions. For more accurate information regarding your specific case, contact the office of Getz Collins and Associates at (403) 934-2500 to schedule a consultation.