Posted on December 19, 2013 · Posted in Blog

spousal support calculator BC

What is spousal support, maintenance or alimony?

Actually, all three terms refer to the same thing. For the purpose of this article we’ll call it spousal support since the government refers to it as that.

Simply put, spousal support is a payment made by one spouse to the other when marital breakdown and separation occur. The purpose of spousal support is to help equalize his or her quality of life, or to compensate the person receiving it for the financial decisions the two spouses made during their time together. The amount and duration are based on many factors.

EntitlementSpousal Support Advisory Guidelines

First and foremost, the question has to  be asked: “What entitles a person to receive spousal support?” The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG) website stresses, “You first need to know if either you or your spouse is entitled to support under the law that applies in your situation. It may be a waste of your time and energy to calculate a spousal support amount if there is no legal requirement to pay it.”

The question of entitlement is often one for lawyers since each couple have their own unique circumstances which may require legal advice to get a definitive answer. Generally, the factors a judge would use to determine entitlement would include:

  1. the care of the children if children are involved,
  2. the financial position of each spouse and their ongoing needs,
  3. how long the couple were married or common-law partners,
  4. whether or not there are outstanding orders or agreements which were made previously,
  5. the roles that each spouse assumed while together,
  6. how those chosen roles and marital breakdown effects the spouses’ financial position and quality of life,
  7. ensure that a receiving spouse understands that working towards self-sufficiency is part of the package.

how to use spousal support calculatorThe Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG)

Once entitlement has been determined, then the guidelines are used to determine ranges for both the amount and duration. It should be noted that if entitlement to spousal support has been determined, it will be paid by either: 1) agreement, or by 2) court order.

There is a good government website located at the following URL that can answer many of your questions. It is located by clicking HERE.  The guidelines take into consideration the annual incomes of each spouse, how long they were married and whether children are involved.

For more information, you can also go to the Department of Justice website which is also full of information. It can be located by clicking HERE.

And finally, we posted an earlier article which describes a great little tool that is pretty accurate in calculating both child and spousal support. You can find the article and the tool by clicking HERE.

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