Spousal & child support


Alimony and Child Support

How can a divorce get even more complicated? One word: children. Although couples love their children more than anything in the world, unfortunately, children can sometimes end up being used as pawns in a messy divorce.

If parents can’t agree on who will get custody of the children a judge will decide. In the eyes of the law spousal relationships are considered financial partnerships. When partners separate or divorce, the person who earns more money and has more assets may have to financially support the other.


Spousal Support

In family law, the judge determines how much spousal support (commonly referred to as alimony)  is to be paid and for how long. Spousal support is to assist the lower earning partner financially while he or she goes back to school or finds a job. Stay-at-home parents are frequently the recipient of spousal support.

In determining the amount of spousal support, the judge must consider several factors, including how much the spousal support recipient needs to maintain his or her lifestyle, as well as how much the spouse paying the  support payments can afford to pay.

The judge doesn’t just come up with the amount of spousal support out of thin air. Advisory Spousal Support Guidelines are available to both spouses to help determine the appropriate amount of spousal support. If you end up going to court, the judge may use these guidelines to determine how much spousal support is to be paid (although it isn’t binding).


Child Support

With parenthood comes great responsibility. Not only must you look after the wellbeing of your children, both parents are legally obligated to financially support their children. If you’re paying child support to your former spouse, how much child support you are required to pay is based on your income and how many children you have.

If you’re must pay child support, the judge wont’ just take your word for your income. You’ll need to provide tangible  proof. The Child Support Guidelines say that you must include copies of the following documents:

  • Income Tax Returns for each of the past three years;
  • Notices of Assessment and Reassessment for each of those years
  • Your most recent statement of earnings or confirmation of income from your employer if you are an employee;
  • If you are self-employed or control a corporation, the businesses’ financial statement and a statement showing all wages and other similar payments;If you receive employment insurance, social assistance, a pension, worker’s compensation or disability payment, documentation of that income; and,
  • Information relating to the income of a trust where you are a beneficiary under a trust.


Accounting for all of Your Finances

Before you start budgeting, you need to determine exactly what money you have coming in — and going out. Do not just look at your salary and financial investments.

Alimony and child support are two things that must be considered, whether you are paying or receiving. This can drastically alter how much money you actually have at the end of each month.

This is particularly true if you will be dependent on your spouse for either spousal or child support.  While human nature is to carry on with the same lifestyle and to maintain a sense of normalcy, until payment amounts are resolved and final, it’s just a good idea to be more aware of on what and how you are spending so you don’t find yourself in a position where you have spent beyond your new means.


Helpful Websites:

MySupportCalculator.ca – Free child support and spousal support guidelines calculator.

DivorceMate Software – Essential tools for family law professionals in Canada



Spousal Support – Ministry of the Attorney General

Child Support – Ministry of the Attorney General


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