Spousal support is available to parties who are married to each other, or to parties who have lived together in a common law relationship for three years, or who have a shorter relationship, but have a child together. There are no mandatory government guidelines for spousal support. The objectives of the relevant legislation intend a spousal support order to:
- recognize any contribution to the relationship and the economic consequences of the relationship for the separating spouses;
- share the economic burden of child support equitably;
- make fair provisions to assist a spouse to become able to contribute to his or her own support;
- relieve financial hardship which has not been rectified by property division (married spouses only).
The Courts have also recognized that sometimes there is a need to compensate a spouse who has made financial or career sacrifices for the benefit of the other spouse or for the children. This recognition has resulted in a greater emphasis on the compensatory nature of spousal support. A spouse may be entitled to compensation if he or she gave up career opportunities or education opportunities to serve his or her spouse or children. Spousal support is tax deductible for the payor spouse and must be added to the recipient’s income for income tax purposes.
Spousal support may be paid monthly like child support. Alternatively, the payor may seek to “buy” a spousal support release by either making a lump sum payment of spousal support or transferring a greater amount of property in lieu of spousal support. A lump sum payment or transfer of property is not tax deductible for the payor nor is it taxable in the recipient’s hands. Lump sum spousal support does not always result in an absolutely final release of spousal support. The Ontario Court of Appeal has held that in limited circumstances, “No” doesn’t mean “Never” in spousal support.
Please Note: This information is not intended to contain advice specific to your situation. There are no cookie cutter solutions. After all, you are reading this information on the internet. Your situation is special and unique and you must be guided by specific individual advice from your Lawyer, Certified Financial Planner or Accountant.