Besides child decision-making, parental access, and wealth distribution, spousal support is perhaps the most disputed aspect of any contested divorce. Fairly speaking, divorce is one of the toughest decisions for everyone who contemplates marriage dissolution.
The dilemma of whether to save the family or end the emotional torment sometimes threatens to overpower an individual’s thinking capacity. On top of this, additional disputes in the shape of spousal support completely rattle an innocent mind.
Rightly so, spousal support is not as simple as a fixed sum of money to an ex-spouse every month. Given the diversity of each case and the unique circumstances facing each couple, a one-for-all solution is neither effective nor preferable. In recognition of each family’s unique needs, the Canadian government has set a comprehensive set of rules and advisory guidelines to assist judges in deciding in the best interest of every party involved.
Even so, these guidelines are sometimes not comprehensible enough for an average individual with little to no legal knowledge. As a result, numerous confusions and questions arise regarding the subject. As professional family lawyers, we reckon this lack of knowledge and certain questions are prevalent throughout the country, including Alberta. Sadly, very few resources available on the internet correctly present the facts.
Most inexperienced bloggers confuse their readers even more rather than easing up the situation. Thus, we recommend that you only trust a reliable family law website that provides factual information coming right from legal experts.
In light of the situation at hand, we present this blog post with the most commonly asked questions regarding spousal support in Alberta.
What Is Spousal Support?
Spousal support is simply a certain amount of money that one spouse must regularly pay to the other spouse after their marriage or unison has come to an end. The government acknowledges that in a marriage, one spouse depends on the other financially to some extent, even if they both have jobs.
Thus, spousal support is a measure taken to support the financially disadvantaged spouse and afford them ample time to regain a grip on their financial adversaries. In Canada, the Family Law Act and the Divorce Act govern all aspects of spousal support.
Are Spousal Support And Alimony The Same?
Naturally, after reading the above definition, the first thing that comes to your mind is whether spousal support is the same as alimony. The answer to this question is both yes and no.
Yes, because spousal support is a modern word for alimony. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that alimony is spousal support’s forefather. No, because the legal definition of spousal support is far broader and more inclusive than the traditional term, alimony. The term alimony was repealed because it mainly related to a man financially providing support to a woman when their marriage ends.
On the other hand, spousal support is not gender-biased and simply seeks to support a financially disadvantaged spouse, be it a man or a woman.
Does A Man Always Have To Pay Spousal Support?
As mentioned earlier, contemporary law regarding support payments is more gender inclusive. Thus, unlike the popularly accepted misconception that a man is responsible for supporting a woman, modern law seeks neutrality for a just decision.
If you are being intimidated into paying spousal support by your ex-spouse just because you are a man, seek legal representation from a reputed family lawyer to protect your rights.
Who Qualifies For Spousal Support In Alberta?
The Divorce Act affords both spouses to request spousal support. As a general rule, the spouse with a lower income usually requests spousal support. Once the request is made, a judge considers several factors before rendering a spouse eligible for the support and passing a spousal support order.
- The financial resources and current circumstances of both spouses
- The length of time they spent with each other
- Each spouse’s role and responsibilities in a marriage
- The after-effects of the union dissolution and how the aforementioned responsibilities impact each spouse
- Any ongoing child support or other payments
- Any previous orders, agreements, or arrangements already made about spousal support.
How Long Does Spousal Support Last In Alberta?
The most important question that comes to mind about spousal support is how long an individual can expect to pay or receive the support. Although there are guidelines to steer the courts to make the right decision, a judge always has the freedom to show some flexibility in sight of a family’s unique needs.
Primarily, the following general rules may be applicable depending on the circumstances:
- For couples with no children, the financially strong spouse must make the support payments for six months or a year of each year they have spent together
- A spouse will pay the support indefinitely if the couple has spent more than 20 years together if the recipient’s age, when added to the length of the marriage, is more than 65
- When a couple has children, the same guidelines as the preceding point apply. However, if the marriage is short, but there are children, a judge may order for the payment to stop once the youngest child starts or finishes school
If you want to negotiate and resolve spousal support and other disputed matters with your spouse, turn to the best mediation services in Edmonton.
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