Spousal support can be an extremely contentious issue. Both parties in a divorce action can have a lot of underlying fear and anger that makes it difficult to come to an agreement on who should pay spousal support and how much should be paid.
The lawyers at Merchant Law know how to help with your spousal support difficulties. If you need it, we can help you get it. If you are trying to minimize how much you’re going to end up paying, we can provide you with some options.
What qualifies someone for spousal support in British Columbia?
Either spouse may ask for spousal support. However, the courts tend to give spousal support to a spouse who stayed home to look after the children or put their own career on hold to help their spouse get educated for a higher-paying job. They also look at whether either spouse will have trouble finding work after the divorce.
In general, a spouse who was dependent on their ex is usually in the best position to ask for some form of spousal support. Yet nothing is guaranteed until a request is made and a judge either makes a ruling or approves a negotiated award.
What’s a fair amount of spousal support?
Lawyers usually use a fairly complex software-based formula to come up with a reasonable amount, as do judges.
The formula accounts for the difference in both party’s income, the reasons why the spouse asking for support needs support, how long you were married, how much each of you earn now, and what each party’s standard of living is likely to look like. The formula also looks at whether the payor spouse is already paying child support.
Not all spousal support awards last for long. For the most part, judges award spousal support for ½ to 1 year per year you were married. So if you were married 20 years, you could get 10 to 20 years of spousal support.
How can I avoid paying spousal support?
In many cases spousal support is unavoidable. However it is also often negotiable.
For example, some spouses will take less monthly support in return for a lump sum settlement, a greater share of the assets, or the right to keep the family home. Some are willing to take just enough to get retrained and to get settled into a new career.
Remember, a divorce should not leave either spouse destitute. Courts won’t accept an arrangement where one spouse continues living a $300,000 a year lifestyle while the other tries to get by on $12,000 per year. Try to take your spousal support arrangement with grace and remember it won’t be forever.
Why Merchant Law?
When you work with a lawyer from Merchant Law you’ll be working with one of the most experienced family lawyers in British Columbia. Many of our lawyers have been published in prestigious divorce law reviews, and we’ve handled hundreds of cases just like yours. You’ll find us responsive, caring, and ready to listen.
To get started, call (604) 535-7777 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, or visit our office at 63337 198 St #101, Langley City, BC.