Calgary Spousal Support Lawyers
The end of a relationship does not always mean the end of the financial responsibility of one partner to the other. Determining whether spousal support is owed or what the quantum and duration of spousal support should be are complex legal issues. Our team of skilled lawyers can assist in reviewing the spousal support and offer a clear and intelligent approach to determining this complex issue.
Formerly known as alimony, spousal support is money paid by one spouse to the other for financial support. Spousal support can either be paid in a one-time lump sum or periodically (usually monthly) or a combination of lump sum and periodic. It may be paid on an interim basis, on a final basis, or both. It may be paid indefinitely and subject to future review or for a limited period of time, depending on the circumstances. These circumstances may include how long the parties cohabited, their ages, health, ability to work, and what their respective roles were during their cohabitation such as childcare, the maintenance of the home and earning income. Periodic spousal support payments are normally tax-deductible to the payor and must be claimed as income by the recipient on his/her taxes. This tax deductibility does not normally apply to lump-sum payments.
The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are guidelines that suggest an appropriate range of periodic Spousal Support. Unlike the Federal Child Support Guidelines, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are not legally binding. They are essentially just a tool or guide which may or may not be used by lawyers and Judges in dealing with spousal support.
Prior to determining the amount of spousal support and its potential duration, particularly if spousal support is disputed, it is first necessary for an applicant for spousal support to establish that they are in fact legally entitled to spousal support. This entitlement may be compensatory or non-compensatory in nature. If entitlement is agreed or successfully established, then prior to being able to explore appropriate amounts and duration of spousal support, it is necessary to determine the appropriate or “guideline” incomes to be used for each of the parties in conducting these calculations. Although the starting point is normally “total annual income” as shown on the parties’ most recent income tax returns, there are numerous adjustments that may need to be made to these incomes.
Spousal Support is an area fraught with disputes and uncertainty; however, with excellent legal representation from your lawyer, spousal support provides many creative opportunities for resolution acceptable to both sides.