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Fair And Reasonable Spousal Support
Spousal support (also called maintenance or alimony) is paid by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse, to help him or her get back on track after the relationship dissolves.
Ganapathi Law Group can help you determine eligibility for spousal support, and then settle on the amount to be paid or received. Please call our Vancouver office to arrange a confidential consultation about your unique circumstances.
A Two-Step Process
Not every relationship will result in spousal support, and it is perfectly common and acceptable to renounce it in a prenuptial agreement or during separation negotiations. Typically spouses only qualify if they are married or lived common-law for two years, or if they lived common-law less than two years, but had a child together.
To determine eligibility for spousal support, we consider factors such as:
- Length of the Relationship: The shorter the marriage, the less likely support will be.
- Roles during the Marriage: If one partner helped the other through professional school, or took time off from work to care for the children, or moved away from his or her job to support the other, he or she may be entitled to compensation for sacrifices made for the sake of the partner and family.
- Prenuptial Agreements: If there is a prenuptial and either party renounced the right to spousal support, in all likelihood the contract will be upheld. Normally only unusual circumstances such as terminal illness or dishonesty in the making of the contract will overturn a prenuptial agreement.
- Economic Hardship: Spousal support is based on need and ability to pay. If either partner is facing unusual hardship, this may affect spousal support.
After determining eligibility, our lawyers can help you negotiate for a fair amount. The government provides assistance in the form of Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. The guidelines use the length of the marriage and each partner’s income to come up with a suggested range and duration for support.
Although you are free to negotiate for amounts outside the range, if you cannot come to an agreement and end up in litigation, it is important to understand that courts generally give the guidelines a fair amount of deference. Unless there are unusual circumstances, the court will normally stay within the suggested range.
Child support and property division may affect support negotiations. It is also important to make support agreements flexible to account for the fact that either partner’s income and life circumstances may change over time.