Calgary Divorce Law and Spousal Support: Part 3
March 2, 2016
Divorced raise many questions about your past, present, and future, and many people in Calgary going through a divorce have difficulty finding the answers and the peace of mind they need. At GDE Family Law, one of Calgary's leading divorce law firms, we believe that providing information to our clients and everyone in our community is the best way to make Calgary divorces as simple and low-stress as possible, and this blog is a part of our effort to answer common questions and provide much needed information about divorce law.
Many of the most frequent questions our Calgary divorce lawyers receive center around the issue of spousal support, which is a cause of major concern to anyone facing an uncertain financial future following their divorce. As you saw in the first two parts of this article series, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to establishing spousal support amounts. Instead, judges in Calgary divorce cases are given broad latitude to determine reasonable spousal support amounts if any, based on several factors in the Divorce Act.
In Part 2 of this article, you saw that the "condition, means, needs, and other circumstances" phrase allows judges to consider pretty much anything they think is reasonable when determining spousal support arrangements. Here, we'll take a look at some of the specific elements of a marriage and conditions of each spouse that judges are asked to take into account.
Spousal Support Considerations in Calgary Divorces
Length of cohabitation is considered especially important in determining spousal support in Calgary divorces for several reasons. Generally, it is assumed that longer periods of cohabitation lead to greater financial interdependence and to both spouses becoming accustomed to a certain income level and the lifestyle it provides. Thus, longer periods of cohabitation often lead to longer period of spousal support payments and/or lump sum or ongoing payments that attempt to "even out" each spouse's financial situation following a divorce.
Of course, there are many other factors that can affect spousal support regardless of the length of the marriage/cohabitation. If both spouses performed largely similar functions in the marriage, including bringing equitable amounts of income and assets to the marriage and sharing household duties and any parenting responsibilities equally, this might make spousal support less reasonable. If one spouse, on the other hand earned the majority of the income while the other performed the majority of household duties, that variance in function is more likely to lead to a significant spousal support agreement.
Working With Your Calgary Divorce Lawyer on Spousal Support Arrangements
In most Calgary divorce cases, reaching a spousal support agreement using alternative dispute resolution—a process that takes place outside the Calgary courts—is preferable to having a judge make the decision for you. Understanding what a judge may award in a given case is essential to the ADR process, though, and your Calgary divorce lawyer can help you determine what a fair a likely outcome would be and thus coming to a spousal support agreement that much easier.
If you have questions about spousal support in your own Calgary divorce, or any other questions about divorce law as it pertains to your specific case, please contact the lawyers at GDE Family Law today.
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