Eight things you need to know about spousal support in Alberta
- Calculation of spousal support
Spousal support is not set at an arbitrary point with no regard to each spouse’s situation. Instead, the Court sets an amount that:
- allows the spouse requiring support to maintain a reasonable lifestyle
- is within the financial capabilities of the spouse offering support
- would promote the economic self-sufficiency of each party
- relieves any economic hardship of the spouses, arising from the breakdown of the marriage
- The sacrifice made by stay at home spouse
When calculating spousal support for a stay at home spouse, the Court takes into account the lost opportunity to earn income and the actual income of that spouse. It also considers the benefit enjoyed by the working spouse because of the support provided by the stay at home spouse.
- No time limits
The duration of spousal support can be tied to the length of the relationship. But in many cases, the calculation takes into account some or all of the following factors: time spent on family care, health of each spouse, age of each spouse, living standard both before and after separation, employment\career support, child care, time required to reenter the workforce.
- Out of court agreement
You do not need to go to court to enact spousal support payments. The two spouses can set the amount, taking into account their circumstances and the guidelines for spousal support. The agreed amount becomes part of the separation agreement.
- How to calculate your need for spousal support
In general terms, spousal support should cover the difference between your net income and your current monthly living expenses. To get the necessary numbers, document your monthly expenses, most of which should be shown on your bank statement. Exclude anything that would be considered extravagant (buying jewelry) or discretionary, such as an expensive holiday.
- Spousal support can be adjusted
A cost of living provision can be included in a spousal support agreement to allow automatic increases tied to the inflation rate. It is also possible to apply for a change because the circumstances of either spouse have changed significantly. A judge decides whether the change is reasonable.
- Individuals in a common law relationship can apply for spousal support
The only difference, versus a divorcing couple in a traditional marriage, is that the term spousal support is replaced with “Adult interdependent partner support”.
- Courts consider the circumstances for both
Prior to issuing a spousal support order, the court will consider the condition, means, needs and circumstances of each spouse, which includes:
- The length of time the spouses cohabitated
- The functions preferred by each spouse
- Any order or agreement relating to spousal support of either spouse
Learn more about spousal support, including payment enforcement, by requesting your free introductory consultation with Edmonton Family Law lawyer Belal Najmeddine today.
Learn more about Spousal Support in Alberta by contacting Edmonton Law Office to request your free introductory consultation.