Spousal and Partner Support

Spousal and Partner Support

When couples marry or become Adult Interdependent Partners (often referred to as ‘common law couples’), one of the parties will often begin making numerous financial and career sacrifices for the greater good of the family and/or partnership. Often, it involves one party contributing primarily to the care of the children and/or upkeep of the couple’s home, thereby allowing the other party time up to focus more on his or her career and maximizing income for the family. It also can occur when one spouse contributes to a family business that is primary controlled and operated by the other. Furthermore, the longer a marriage or common law relationship lasts, it is common to see one party becoming partially or wholly dependent on the other for their financial well being.

When these and similar circumstances exist and a marriage or common law relationship breaks down, Alberta courts will order that one party is to pay the other spousal or partner support in an amount and for a duration that often falls within the Federal Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines – http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/fl-lf/spousal-epoux/spag/pdf/SSAG_eng.pdf 

The award of spousal support by the court is meant to accomplish several objectives, including:

  • Compensate for the financial disadvantage faced by the spouse that occurs because of the breakdown of the marriage or partnership.
  • Compensate the disadvantaged spouse for his or her contribution to the care of the couple’s children, household and/or career.
  • Assist each spouse to become financially independent within a reasonable amount of time.

Factors that the court looks at when making an award of spousal support can include:

  • The duration of the relationship
  • The incomes and assets of the parties
  • The ability of each party to support themselves financially
  • The responsibilities of each spouse during the relationship
  • Sacrifices made by one spouse for the benefit of the other spouse and family
  • Whether one of the partners has a legal obligation to support another ex-spouse or child from a previous relationship
  • When one of the parties has gone on to live with someone else, how this other person contributes to their regular household expenses
  • Previous agreements between the parties

Our lawyers are here to assist our clients with first understanding their legal position as it relates to spousal support, and secondly, to assist them with negotiating (or litigating if necessary) a spousal support arrangement that is respectful of their legal rights and protects their financial future.

To book an initial consultation to discuss the above matters, please call our office at 403-948-0009.