Spousal support lawyers can help address critical issues about spousal support for both parties involved in a divorce. When determining spousal support, so many issues come into play. For example, if you are the spouse entitled to receive spousal support from your ex-spouse, how much are you entitled to? In contrast, how much should you pay if you are the spouse owing spousal support?
While family law in Canada addresses these issues, it is not easy to interpret it if you do not have legal experience in this field. Certain legal terms can be confusing, and that is not all – these terms change depending on circumstances. What works for one couple might not work for the other. When you find yourself in such a situation, you need to contact an experienced spousal support lawyer in Toronto.
At Bykov Law, our lawyers can help you understand what you are entitled to or what you need to pay as spousal support during a divorce. We make this complex area of family law easier to understand.
Spousal Support Terms and Considerations You Should Know
How much spousal support do I actually have to pay? This is a common question that is asked after or even during the divorce proceedings. In Ontario, every spouse has the right to first support themselves, before they consider other obligations such as spousal support. There is an obligation for spouses to support each other even after they separate, and the court may order these support payments should the other side be unwilling.
The support that one spouse contributes to the other is based on need, along with the spouses ability to pay.
It is also important to determine what definition of spouse that you and your former partner fall under.
- individuals who are married to each other
- individuals who have entered into a void or voidable marriage in good faith on the part of the person asserting the claim for support, or
- individuals who are not married to each other but have cohabited continuously for a period of not less than three years, or in a relationship of some sort of permanence (for example have a child together)
When a married couple divorces, the spouse with the lower income usually requests spousal support under the Family Law Act or Divorce Act. The judge will consider the following factors to determine spousal support regardless of the eligibility category.
- How long the spouses have lived together
- The financial needs, means, and circumstances of both spouses
- The roles each spouse plays in the marriage
- The effects of such roles when the marriage ends
- Ongoing responsibilities such as childcare
- Any previous agreements, such as separation agreements, regarding spousal support
The government provides the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines for spouses to calculate what they may be entitled to receive or pay as spousal support. However, as mentioned before, spousal support is a complicated area of family law.
Online tools or guidelines do not provide accurate estimates of what you need to pay or receive as spousal support. For this reason, our spousal support lawyers can help calculate everything for you, giving you a clear picture of what you may be entitled to receive or required to pay your spouse as spousal support.
You should also be aware of the objectives of spousal support. The court wants to recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages to each spouse arising from the marriage or its breakdown. The court wants to ensure the spouses are compensated for child care if one spouse will be the primary caregiver (i.e. the child will live with them). The court will also aim to promote the spouse’s self-sufficiency so they can support themselves and live a normal life.
It is also important to note that you can have an agreement with your spouse without necessarily going to court. This is also something our family law experts can help you with. To do this, you will sign a separation agreement stating the terms of spousal support, among other important pre and post-divorce issues. In addition, if you choose to sign a separation agreement regarding spousal support, you:
- must understand the terms of the agreement;
- must understand the consequences of the agreement;
- and your spouse must have provided honest and complete information about your finances; and
- must sign the agreement out of your own will.
When Does Spousal Support End?
When the courts decide how much each spouse should pay each other in spousal support (if any) they consider the following factors. 1) The length of time the spouses cohabited 2) the roles played by each spouse 3) any orders or agreements with respect to support that may exist between the parties. Further:
- Spousal support ends when the recipient dies,
- Spousal support does not automatically end when the recipient cohabits with or marries someone else,
- Spousal support does not automatically end when the payor dies, or
- Spousal support does not automatically end when the payor retires
Instead, spousal support ends when you and your ex-spouse decide to end it or when the court determines that there is a material change in your circumstances (if you are the payor). Such changes must have impacted your life in such a way that it is reasonable to end spousal support.
Some common examples of a significant change in circumstances in spousal support cases include:
- A disability or illness that seriously affects the payor’s ability to pay spousal support
- When the recipient of spousal support is remarried
- When the payer loses their job
- When the payor faces a pay cut
If both parties agree to end spousal support, they will file a Motion to Change. They do not need to appear in court if they agree to cease support. However, if the recipient disputes the motion, the court will review the changes and make a ruling.
It is also important to note that some spousal support agreements have a review date. Both parties will decide whether to continue or end support on that date.
How to Choose the Best Toronto Lawyer for Spousal Support
Spousal support is a serious topic during a divorce. For this reason, it often leaves no room for mistakes. You need a lawyer who understands the various child support laws, including how and when they apply. When looking for spousal support lawyers in Toronto, you will most likely have so many options to choose from. But that does not mean that you should opt for any lawyer that comes your way.
Instead, choose a lawyer with experience handling such cases. Talk to them about your case and pay attention to how they respond. Do they sound knowledgeable? Do you feel comfortable working with them?
Additionally, do they have time for your case? Are they willing to represent you in court if an out-of-court agreement with your spouse does not seem to work? Above all, trust your instincts.
How the Toronto, ON, Lawyers at Bykov Law Can Help
If you are looking for the best spousal support lawyer in Toronto, Bykov Law is here to help. You can trust our experience whenever you need a lawyer who will protect your interests and rights throughout the divorce process.
If you are the spouse paying support, you need to understand that this is a long-term, legally binding commitment. This further explains why you need to get it right the first time, and that is where our lawyers come in.
If you are the party eligible to receive child support, also known as the recipient, our lawyers can help you understand what you are entitled to. Unfortunately, many recipients enter into agreements without knowing certain rights they had until it is too late. For this reason, it is always advisable to work with an experienced family law lawyer from Bykov Law to prevent this.
If you would like to speak with an expert regarding spousal support, contact us today at 416.519.3259 to schedule a consultation.