One of the most misunderstood concepts for separating couples is the entitlement to spousal support. Many people think that because his or her spouse earns more money than they do, they are entitled to spousal support. However, this is not the legal basis of spousal support.
In general, spousal support entitlement is based on two typical scenarios:
- One spouse, due to the decisions made and roles played during the marriage, has been disadvantaged in his or her income earning capacity. Examples of this include staying home to raise children, and moving to a new city to support the other spouse’s career.
2. One spouse’s standard of living is significantly reduced by the breakdown of the marriage.
Of course, there are always exceptions.
To read about the different legal entitlements for spousal support, you can read the two significant decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada:
Moge v. Moge: http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/1992/1992canlii25/1992canlii25.html
Bracklow v. Bracklow:
There are scenarios where a disparity in income between two spouses does not result in an award of spousal support. For example, a short term marriage where both parties have pursued their career paths without interruption, and have not had children, there is a good chance that neither party has an entitlement to spousal support even though one spouse may earn more income than the other.
Spousal support is a legal issue, not a mathematical formula. Ultimately, if two separating spouses are unable to reach an agreement on spousal support, the Court has the ultimate discretion on resolving the issue. You should obtain legal advice on the issue of spousal support, and how it may affect you. Let me know if I can help.