Edmonton Spousal Support Lawyers Serving Alberta and Western Canada
When a marriage comes to an end, one spouse is often in a very different financial position than the other.
Depending on the circumstances of the marriage and divorce, the higher-earning spouse may have to provide some level of financial support to the lower-earning spouse for a period of time.
Spousal support, commonly referred to as alimony, is often ordered when there is a significant financial disparity between separating spouses or life partners.
Alimony may be awarded to one party at the end of a marriage, “common law” relationship, or Adult Interdependent Relationship, as per Canada’s Divorce Act.
Spousal support is provided by one partner to the other in an effort to help prevent economic hardship and allow the lower-earning individual to maintain the standard of living to which they’ve grown accustomed over the course of the relationship.
Serving clients in Edmonton and across Alberta, the skilled alimony lawyers at Chadi & Company can help you determine whether you are obligated to pay alimony, or if you are entitled to receive this form of spousal support from your soon-to-be-ex-spouse or partner.
We understand the intricacies of Canadian spousal support laws, and our knowledgeable, compassionate family law lawyers will ensure that you fully understand your rights and options before moving forward with any legal strategy.
Calculating Spousal Support in Alberta
Determining if spousal maintenance is necessary, and calculating the amount that should be paid, and for how long, can be an extremely complicated process.
Because there are guidelines but no set-in-stone rule for how spousal support should work, the court must take multiple factors into consideration when deciding whether or not to order spousal support, including:
- The financial situation of both spouses;
- Each spouse’s current and future earning capacity;
- The length of the marriage;
- Each spouse’s role in the marriage;
- The lifestyle each spouse became accustomed to while married;
- Whether children are involved; and
- Any agreements regarding spousal support, such as a prenuptial agreement, cohabitation agreement, or adult interdependent partner agreement.
If there is a significant income gap, the higher-earning spouse will likely have to provide alimony to the lower-earning spouse for a period of time. The impact of the marriage on each spouse’s financial situation will also weigh into a determination for spousal support.
For example, if one spouse stayed home to raise children while the other worked, the judge will likely award spousal support as the loss of income is a direct result of the marriage.
There are some exceptions, however, including if the lower-earning spouse marries or takes a higher-paying job.
It should also be noted that going to court to create a spousal support plan is not necessary if both spouses agree on an arrangement. In such a case, the spousal support payments and duration can become part of the couple’s separation agreement.
Contact Chadi & Company Today
If you are in the process of a divorce, separation, or the dissolution of a “common law” relationship, the skilled legal team at Chadi & Company can help.
We have been protecting the rights of individuals and families for over three decades, and we have an impressive track record of obtaining the results our clients want in a timely, economical manner.
Family law matters can be particularly stressful and emotional; don’t attempt to go through this process without knowledgeable, compassionate legal counsel by your side. Contact Chadi & Company today for a free consultation about your case.
Frequently Asked Questions
The courts decide whether to order spousal support based on multiple factors, including:
- Each spouse’s income;
- How many years they have been married;
- Their roles in the marriage;
- Whether there are children to care for; and
If an existing prenuptial agreement or other agreement stipulates spousal support in the event of separation.
In order for alimony to be awarded, there must be a financial disparity between the two partners, and support payments must be required to prevent the lower-earning partner from falling into economic hardship.
There is no set rule for how and when spousal support should be awarded in Alberta, but an experienced Edmonton alimony lawyer can help you understand your rights and determine how to proceed.
As with all other aspects of spousal support, the duration of support payments depends on the circumstances of your unique situation. One of the primary factors, however, is how long the couple was married. Generally speaking, the longer the marriage, common law marriage, or adult interdependent relationship, the longer the support order will be.
If circumstances change for the paying spouse, such as would occur with the loss of a job, a court order for spousal support may be modified or terminated. The age and health of each spouse, time spent on caring for the family, and their ability to reenter the workforce may also factor into the amount and duration of support payments.
When determining how much spousal support you need, or should be required to pay, you must consider the difference between the lower-earning spouse’s net income and their monthly living expenses.
Monthly living expenses should not include extravagances, such as expensive vacations, weekly massages, or jewelry.
What is considered “reasonable” in terms of spousal support payments will vary widely from one couple to another.
If a stay-at-home parent puts their education and career on hold to raise children during a 20-year marriage to a spouse who earns millions annually, alimony payments could be substantial.
On the other hand, if one spouse makes $50 thousand per year, the other makes $200 thousand per year, they are both gainfully employed and have been married for five years, alimony payments will be much smaller if they are ordered at all.