Spousal support, also known as alimony, can cause a lot of strife during divorce negotiations. Both parties are usually very concerned about their ability to continue meeting their financial needs after the divorce is done, and so both parties can feel threatened.
You need creative family lawyers who are adept at diffusing tension and suggesting equitable solutions. You also need lawyers with a firm grounding in the subject, who know what is likely to happen if the matter goes to the courts and who can provide all parties with a jumping-off point for negotiations.
Our team has helped hundreds of clients through the spousal support process. We will look out for your best interests and help you navigate issues as they arise.
How is Spousal Support Calculated in Alberta?
Courts in Canada use the spousal support advisory guidelines as a starting point for determining whether spousal support should be paid, and how much. There are formulas both for couples whose divorce settlements will include child support and for those who won’t.
Both formulas take several factors into account, including the length of the marriage and the income of both spouses. They also allow for certain exceptions, such as basic needs, illness and disability, the likelihood that your ex will be able to get a job, and more.
Who is Entitled to Spousal Support in Alberta?
Either member of a couple may apply for spousal support, but it generally goes to the couple who makes the least amount of income. Neither party is entitled to support, and one of the first issues the court may address is whether either party should receive support at all.
There are three types. The first is contractual support. A spouse will get this support if the couple has a valid prenuptial agreement that entitles them to it. The second is compensatory support. This supports that a spouse who has given up a career, educational or earning opportunities for the benefit of the family. The third type is non-compensatory support, meant to address a significant economic hardship that might be caused by the breakdown of the marriage. Lawyers will have to prove one spouse or the other is eligible under any of these categories.
How Long Does Spousal Support Last in Alberta?
The purpose of spousal support is to help each spouse become financially independent within a reasonable period of time. Lifelong awards are very rare and would be most likely when a payee is an elderly person whose job prospects may be slim even with retraining. This is especially true when the payee gave up career prospects to take care of the home, and children.
Most divorce settlements will dictate the amount of time that support must be paid. It may also be possible to negotiate a lump sum settlement or alternative spousal support arrangements.