If you are going through separation or divorce, you may contemplate how to go about spousal support. Remember that spousal support helps to:
- Support the financially unstable spouse.
- Support the spouse who takes care of the children and household.
- Ensure one spouse doesn’t suffer financially after the separation or divorce.
The above is always paid by the ex-spouse with a higher income. Meaning, if you are a high-earning spouse, you will need to pay spousal support. The main question will be until when?
This guide contains circumstances that may lead to modification of spousal support and how to end such support.
Table of Contents
Calculation of Spousal Support
In Ontario, spousal support is calculated based on:
- Whether the payor is obligated to pay child support payment. Or
- Whether there is no child support formula
In some cases, it becomes tough to determine what to pay based on the given calculation. Therefore, it’s best to seek help from a family lawyer in Toronto.
If you are to pay for spousal support, you may find it easier to negotiate the amount to pay. The amount and terms of payment should be indicated in your separation agreement, which may be subject to modification later due to a change of circumstances. Change of circumstances may vary depending on the issues surrounding a case. These may include:
1. Your ex-spouse becomes self-sufficiency
After some time, the issue of self-sufficiency has to crop up. An individual is expected to make improvements within a reasonable time after separation or divorce. Not unless he/she is disabled or aged.
If spousal support is to stop, the court has to determine whether the spouse receiving payment makes reasonable efforts to achieve self-sufficiency. Where there are efforts but no results, this still will be considered. Alimony cannot be stopped if the recipient has not yet gained an income for self-dependency.
2. The recipient dies
Where the recipient dies, the payor can no longer pay for spousal support but has to continue paying any other payment such as child support as per court orders. It worth noting that alimony doesn’t stop when a payor dies. The recipient can still obtain such payment from disability benefits such as Canadian Pension Plan.
Where there was no time limit, such support is considered indefinite and can only be created if you come to an agreement. To have your spousal support orders modified, you have to show the change of circumstance.
Spousal support may also be adjusted to a higher amount if the recipient has to obtain education or some training to make it easier for them to get financially stable.
How To End Spousal Support?
The duration of spousal support is determined depending on the unique facts of each case. For instance, the judge has to determine how long the marriage lasted. Or whether there are any child support obligations. Meaning for any change, the condition to stop payment has to be met.
Before deciding to change the spousal support, make sure you go through the agreement concerning spousal support payment to see when such support ends. You don’t want court fines for failure to obey court orders. For instance, your agreement can state that the support ends when children marry or when the recipient gets career advancement. .
You also need to ensure there is a change of situation. The latter is what will be used by the court to amend or end the alimony. You may choose to review your spousal support agreement and make necessary changes instead of going to court. But if you cannot agree on such issues, you may need to look for a mediator or have a lawyer help you on the best strategy to end the spousal support. Some of the reasons you can show include:
- The recipient gets a job and becomes self-sufficiency
- The payor is demoted or loses their job
To make any change, the court has to consider:
- Agreements made during separation or divorce concerning spousal support
- Whether children will be affected
- Whether the recipient has any goals of improving their career life or looking for a job
If you are not sure how to go about the situation, you can consider going through the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs)
Note that the court may not award spousal support because the recipient has a lower income.
This is possible if he /she have a lot of assets or there is no point in getting such payments, where the difference in their income cannot be associated with their marriage.
If you need to change spousal support payment, you may consider speaking to an experienced family lawyer. Such a lawyer will first determine any change of circumstance or the end date of such support payment. Alimony should be paid until the Family Responsibility office issue an order to stop.
Your lawyer can write up to the FRO and remind them about the end date of support payments. If there is no specific date when the payment ends, you will have to agree with your partner on why you think such support should end.