Will You Get Alimony after Your Divorce?
Divorce often presents many complicated financial issues. It is important for those facing divorce to consult with a lawyer about their legal rights. Alimony – also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance – can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime and have a significant impact on your post-divorce quality of life. Don’t leave your legal rights to chance. Call Nanda and Associates at 905-405-0199 to schedule a consultation with one of our Mississauga divorce lawyers. Our lawyers have experience both pursuing and defending alimony claims.
How is Alimony Determined?
The Divorce Act governs spousal support awards under Canadian law. First, the spouse asking the court for an alimony award must prove that he or she is eligible for spousal support. Once eligibility has been established, the court will then determine the amount and duration of the award.
How to Prove You Are Eligible for Alimony
A person seeking alimony must first prove that an award would meet one or more of the purposes of alimony that is set forth in the Divorce Act. These are:
- To compensate a spouse who sacrifices his or her ability to earn income during the marriage;
- To compensate a spouse for the ongoing care of children, over and above any child support obligation; or,
- To help a spouse in financial need arising from the breakdown of the marriage.
If one or more of these purposes are met, the judge will then examine the particular case to determine whether a spousal support award is justified. The judge will consider several factors, such as:
- The financial means, needs, and circumstances of both spouses;
- The length of time the spouses have lived together;
- The roles of each spouse during their marriage;
- The effect of those roles and the breakdown of the marriage on both spouses’ current financial positions;
- The ongoing responsibilities for the care of the children, if any; and
- Any previous orders, agreements, or arrangements already made about spousal support.
If the circumstances justify an award of spousal support, the court must then determine the amount of the award.
The Amount of a Spousal Support Award
The amount of a spousal support award is highly subjective. Unlike the Federal Child Support Guidelines, which judges are required to follow, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are discretionary. Judges can choose to follow this advice or not as appropriate in each particular case. These guidelines “suggest appropriate ranges of support in a variety of situations for spouses entitled to support.” This reveals an important truth about spousal support: it is determined by the specific circumstances of each case. It is impossible to guarantee what a judge will award in a particular alimony case because there are simply no legal requirements. Judges have the discretion to award what is fair in each particular case. Around the world, other countries have alimony laws that follow this same principle.
Because spousal support awards are so subjective, lawyers have more room to argue alimony cases. A lawyer can freely argue that his or her client is entitled to more alimony based on the specific circumstances of the marriage. A lawyer also has wide latitude to defend a client from a high alimony claim made by the other spouse, because this too is determined by the specific circumstances of the parties’ marriage. This is why it is so important to consult with a divorce lawyer about your legal rights in an alimony case. This is especially true if your spouse has their own lawyer. Cases in which one spouse is represented by counsel and the other is not often result in settlements or judgments that are unfairly balanced in the represented party’s favour.
Experienced Family Law Lawyers for Mississauga Divorce Cases
You have important legal rights that are at stake in a divorce case. The sooner you consult with an experienced Mississauga divorce lawyer, the better protected your legal rights will be. Call Nanda and Associates today. Our staff speaks fifteen different languages, including English, French, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bangla, Chinese, Italian, Telugu, and Tamil. We have the legal experience and language support needed to aggressively defend your legal rights. To schedule a consultation with a lawyer, call our office today at 905-405-0199 or contact us online.