Spousal Support

DSG Family Law

Spousal support is often a central topic of discussion when couples separate and divorce in Langley, BC.

The outcome of spousal support discussions or negotiations can have a strong bearing on the respective financial positions of recipients and payors of support in the years after divorce.

It is essential, therefore, to understand your rights and responsibilities concerning spousal support if you are going through a separation or divorce.

The right legal advice now can assist with creating a stable financial future for you and your children after a marriage ends. The spousal support lawyers at SDG Family Law in Langley, BC are ready to take your call now, discuss your circumstances and outline your legal options.

Spousal Support Lawyers in Langley, BC

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Once a support order has been finalized by a judge, it is legally binding and can be enforced by the BC courts. Written agreements about spousal support can be filed with the court registry.

Once an order or agreement has been enrolled with the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP), the FMEP can intervene if there is a non-payment issue. Measures include wage garnishment and other means to enforce payments. If the payor files for bankruptcy, this won’t nullify the need to make court-ordered payments.

If there is a substantial change of circumstances for either spouse, an application can be made to the court for modification of the support arrangement. However, until modified by the court, the original order stands.

Contact our spousal support lawyers in Langley today

Can payment of spousal support be enforced in BC?

An experienced spousal support lawyer can help you exercise your rights or settle a spousal support dispute.

DSG Family Law offers a free initial consultation with a divorce lawyer in Langley. We can discuss your divorce situation and outline the legal options available to you.

When a judge calculates spousal support in BC, the federal Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines can act as the basis of the decision, outlining the allowable ranges and terms of support available.

Full financial disclosure is required before any amounts are calculated. If it turns out in the future that this was not provided at the time, the award can be re-calculated and the spouse who failed to provide full disclosure may face penalties.

The most important factors to consider in calculations are the respective incomes of the spouses and the length of the marriage but the judge will consider all of the factors outlined above before reaching a determination.

In the vast majority of cases, spousal support will be calculated and payable monthly (rather than in a lump sum) for a set number of years. For spouses in a marriage or relationship for 20 years or more, no termination date for support may be set. This means that support is indefinite or available until the recipient dies or remarries.

When calculating spousal support, judges in BC cannot be punitive, i.e., each spouse’s behavior during the marriage or the “fault” of one spouse for the marriage breakup is, essentially, irrelevant to the calculation.

Spousal support payments are tax-deductible for the payor and are considered taxable income for the recipient.

How is spousal support calculated?

A great deal of discretion is afforded to judges in BC when awarding spousal support. This means that there are no hard and fast formulas to apply. Each support case is treated on its own merits and multiple factors will be considered.

Among the most important factors are the following:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s primary role within the marriage (e.g., income earning, homemaking, raising children, etc.)
  • The applicant’s need for support based on expenses and obligations
  • The potential for the applicant spouse to increase their earnings (age, employability, health, etc.)
  • Any other aspects of the relationship that have impacted the spouses’ respective financial positions
  • The ability of the payor to pay support
  • Any legally enforceable agreements made during the relationship or separation
  • Any financial consequences from the care of any child(ren) of the marriage (over and above any obligation for child support, which is treated separately)
  • Any other relevant factors

Which factors determine the need for spousal support in BC?

Spousal support is usually awarded temporarily but, in some cases, may be indefinite.

Generally speaking, the longer the marriage, the longer the duration of support payments — but other factors are considered by the courts when determining the amount and duration of support. There is no “spousal support calculator” and the circumstances of each case will be considered before a decision is made.

Importantly, the process of getting support is not automatic and must be applied for through the BC courts. That is unless a provision is included in a valid marriage agreement or divorce settlement.

Am I entitled to spousal support in BC?

How do you know if you are eligible to apply for spousal support in BC? For this, we must refer to the federal Divorce Act and the Family Law Act of British Columbia.

Under federal regulations, spousal support can be used to address the following:

  • Recognize economic advantages/disadvantages to spouses due to marriage or its breakdown.
  • Apportion financial responsibilities that arise from the care of any child of the marriage between the spouses.
  • Relieve the economic hardship of spouses arising from the breakdown of the marriage.
  • Promote the self-sufficiency of each spouse within a reasonable period.

BC’s Family Law Act is particularly important for non-married spouses in common-law relationships. Under the provincial law, common-law partners are entitled to the same spousal support rights as married spouses (the federal act only covers married couples).

Ultimately, if a marriage or marriage-like partnership breaks down in BC, spousal support is likely to be awarded if a significant financial imbalance between the party’s results. Support is generally awarded on the understanding that the recipient of the spousal support becomes self-sufficient at the earliest available opportunity.

For how long is spousal support payable?

The Family Law system in Canada looks to protect the stability of families. As such, when a couple separates, ex-spouses may still have a financial obligation to each other.

In BC, as in other provinces, the spousal support obligation can help divorcing individuals transition to single lives. Under this obligation, financial support may need to be paid by one spouse to the other.

This support is intended to prevent hardship and help ex-spouses become self-sufficient and enjoy a standard of living as close as possible to what they’re accustomed to.

In BC, this principle applies whether the relationship is a formal marriage or considered “marriage-like” (i.e., cohabitation for three years or more or having a child together).

Sometimes, homemakers or spouses who have been out of the workforce for an extended period are financially disadvantaged by a marriage or relationship breakdown. To ensure that no hardship results, the working spouse (or higher-earning spouse if both partners work) may need to pay spousal support to the non-working (or lower-earning) partner.

What is spousal support in BC?

At DSG Family Law in Langley, BC, we understand the far-reaching impact of family law matters like divorce and legal separation on parental rights, personal property, children, and assets. Our professional and highly skilled family lawyers are committed to providing you with expert representation, tailored to your unique needs.

We take a client-centred approach and offer both comprehensive and unbundled legal services, ensuring you receive the support you require at an affordable cost. As a paperless firm, we prioritise efficiency, making your experience with us seamless and stress-free.

Count on DSG Family Law for accessible, compassionate, and trusted family law representation in Langley, BC. Book a free consultation and let us guide you through these crucial legal matters with clear solutions to complex family matters.

Langley B.C

DSG Family Law

At DSG Family Law, we understand that family law matters can be overwhelming and emotionally challenging. Our Family Law Consultations are designed to create a welcoming, comforting, and collaborative environment where you can discuss your concerns and aspirations freely.

We listen attentively to your unique story and provide a safe space to express your needs and goals openly. Our compassionate team of experienced lawyers is here to support and guide you every step of the way.

During the consultation, we take the time to understand your situation fully. We believe in fostering a collaborative approach, where you are actively involved in the decision-making process. Our goal is to empower you with knowledge and options, so you can make informed choices for the future of your family.

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