Spousal support, maintenance and alimony are all different terms for the same thing. At the end of a marriage or, in some cases, common law relationships, one party to the relationship has to pay support to the other. The term alimony stems from the Latin “Alimonia”. It means to nourish.
What Is Spousal Support In Alberta?
The Divorce Act and Family Law Act set the laws regarding spousal support in Alberta. Unlike child support, spousal support can be difficult to calculate due to many factors. Spouse support is meant to equalize the advantages and the disadvantages of the marriage as seen below. To make sure you are not being taken advantage of, it is important to speak with a spousal support lawyer.
What Factors To Spousal Support Lawyers Consider For Payments?
The courts look at four factors when determining spousal support. These include:
Economic advantages / disadvantages
The first factor is the economic advantages and disadvantages that arise from the marriage and/or the breakdown of the marriage. This can mean everything from direct financial benefits to indirect benefits such as a one party maintaining a clean healthy home and provision of meals.
Financial impact of children of the marriage
This includes any financial consequence(s) that arise from the care of any child(ren) of the marriage. This factor includes financial consequences over and above any obligation for child support.
Next the courts will look at any economic hardship that stem from the breakdown of the marriage when deciding spousal support. This includes a party having to buy or rent a new home, the inability to work, etc.
The courts do not want perpetual spousal support payments. The exception to this rule may be if a couple divorce in the later years of life. The courts will always try to promote the economic self sufficiency of both parties in a time frame that is reasonable in a given situation.
What Affects Spouse Support Payment Amounts And Duration?
Determining spouse support payments can be difficult. Once a court decides that spousal support payments are required, it must determine how much those payments are and for how long they will be made. For example, spousal support lawyers look at the following factors are looked at:
- Each spouses occupation during the marriage;
- How long the marriage lasted;
- Age of each spouse;
- Physical health of each spouse;
- Career and earning potential of each spouse;
- If a spouse left their career (the workforce) while married;
- How long a spouse left their career for and its effect;
- If the spouse who left their career can return to it;
- If either spouse had a financial disadvantage due to the marriage arrangements;
- A spouse’s contribution to maintaining the home and raising children; and lastly
- The role of each spouse during the marriage.
It is important to discuss your specific situation with your spousal support lawyer as each situation is different.
How Are Spouse Support Payments Made?
Most spouse support payments usually occur on a monthly basis. At times, usually if there is concern that the payor spouse will not make payments, a lump sum is awarded. Your spousal support lawyer may argue for a combination of lump sum (typically from the sale of a home) and regular monthly payments.
Does A Spouse Cheating Increase Alimony / Support Payments
The behavior of a spouse does not increase support payments. This includes cheating. The court does not punish someone for behavior such as this.
Tax On Spouse Support Payments
Spousal support tax lands in the hands of the party receiving the payment. This means that a person who pays spouse support can deduct the support payments from their taxes. This is different than child support. With Child support, the person who makes the support payments does so with after tax dollars. The recipient receives child support free of income tax payments.
Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines
Spousal support advisory guidelines are a set of guidelines that are a starting point for determining spouse support payments. They are not a final amount or fixed by law but a rough suggestion. These spousal support guidelines are not mandatory. The Federal Child Support Guidelines are much more set in stone. Your spousal support lawyer will discuss these with you.
Finding Spousal Support Lawyers In Calgary, Alberta
The family law team at Kahane Law Office understands the spousal support in Alberta. Let us help you understand your rights and obligations.
To schedule a consultation with a member of our family law team to discuss a spousal support law, please contact our experienced team at Kahane Law Office. You can reach us locally in Calgary at 403-225-8810 or toll-free at 1-877-225-8817, or email us directly here.