What is Spousal Support?
Spousal support is the way by which financial stability is maintained by the parties during and after the separation process. Support payments are made from the spouse with the higher income to the spouse with the lower income.
These payments are usually made on a monthly basis, but can also be paid as a lump sum if the parties’ both agree to it. Sometimes a lump sum settlement of spousal support obligations is ideal, like in cases where the parties have no children together and just want to move forward with their own lives.
Who Can Receive Spousal Support?
Spousal support is not reserved for people who have been married. Anyone who has been married or in a common law relationship (living together for three years or have had a child together within a relationship of some permanence) may be entitled to receive spousal support.
If a party has been financially dependent on his or her spouse for all or much of the relationship, that party will likely receive spousal support in order to maintain the day-to-day status quo, and/or to compensate that party for the money and opportunities he or she gave up to support their partner or care for the kids.
How Much Spousal Support Will I Receive And For How Long?
The amount that a spousal support recipient (the “payee”) will receive from their former partner (the “payor”) depends on several factors:
- The length of the marriage or period of cohabitation;
- The difference in income between the parties;
- Whether the payee has taken time off from work or school to care for children or to provide support to the payor;
- The ability of the payee to regain financial independence, and the length of time this could take;
- The age of the payee relative to the amount of time the payee has not been working;
- The ability of the payor to actually provide the support payments;
- The way in which household costs were paid and the length of time they were paid in this way;
- Support calculations done according to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, which are not binding but often used to determine an appropriate support amount; and
- The best interests of any children involved.
Keep in mind that each case is different and it isn’t possible at the start to determine what a judge will order or what the other party will agree to in negotiations. Speaking with a lawyer can help to clarify the factors that will come into play with your matter.
What If I’m Paying Too Much?
It’s always smart to speak with a lawyer to find out if your spousal support payment amount is correct. If your circumstances have changed, and the amount you are paying in spousal support seems too high, there are steps you can take to try and have it lowered. Whether this needs to happen by way of a court order or not, Tailor Law’s Mississauga spousal support lawyers can navigate the process with you and pursue a more appropriate support amount.
My Former Spouse Isn’t Paying Spousal Support – What Can I Do?
If your former spouse isn’t paying the spousal support amount that was ordered to agreed to in a valid separation agreement, you have options. Spousal support terms and orders can be registered with the Family Responsibility Office. A benefit of doing this is that the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) may be able to enforce the spousal support obligations of the payor by suspending his or her driver’s license or garnishing his or her wages.
If that option isn’t possible, or if FRO is for some reason unable to enforce the payor’s support obligations, Tailor Law lawyers can help. Whether or not court intervention is needed to get payments flowing, our spousal support lawyers can pursue all available avenues in securing you the funds you need.
Where Do I Go From Here?
Whether you are at the beginning of your separation, or have been separated for years, spousal support can be a tough issue. It affects your day-to-day ability to live, work, and run your household. It affects your mental health and overall sense of security. Although you may think you know what you or your spouse are entitled to in terms of support, it is always wise to speak with a lawyer.
Let Tailor Law’s lawyers assess your situation and find out how they can help you by booking a free consultation. Consultations with spousal support lawyers serving Mississauga can be booked anytime by calling 905-366-0202.