The Money Smart
Divorce Solution

Legal, Binding & Enforceable Separation Agreements

The Money Smart
Divorce Solution

Legal, Binding & Enforceable Separation Agreements

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To

For more than 20 years you have witnessed Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s trademark straight-up money wisdom, both on Radio and Television, most notably as host of TVs Till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron. Gail is a multiple time, best-selling financial author, and one of the top Canadian authors of the past decade. Gail brings her common sense wisdom to answer your questions about spousal support and divorce in Ontario.

 

Gail Vaz-Oxlade Divorce and Finances

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To

For more than 20 years you have witnessed Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s trademark straight-up money wisdom, both on Radio and Television, most notably as host of TVs Till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron. Gail is a multiple time, best-selling financial author, and one of the top Canadian authors of the past decade. Gail brings her common sense wisdom to answer your questions about spousal support and divorce in Ontario.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade Divorce and Finances

Spousal Support Entitlement In Ontario

In Ontario, the law views marriage as a financial partnership. When that partnership breaks down, the spouse with more income or assets may have to pay support to the other spouse in order to equalize the financial situation as arrived at the break-up of that partnership.

In Ontario, Alimony is Called Spousal Support

In Ontario, this support is called spousal supportAlimony is the American version of spousal support and we do not use the word alimony in Ontario. Your Separation Agreement will specify if any spousal support will be paid from one spouse to the other and if so, how much, when, and for how long.

How is Spousal Support Calculated?

The law considers a number of factors when deciding how much spousal support and the length of time that it should be paid, including how much support the asking person requires in order to meet their needs, and how much the other spouse can afford to pay. You can find a spousal support calculator, but numbers may change based on the situation.

A person may claim spousal support long term as equalization payments that will keep them from ending up in serious financial difficulty or short term to help them become financially self-sufficient.

If spousal support claims are waived, it is very important that your Separation Agreement is prepared properly in order to ensure that this waiver is binding and remains enforceable in the future.

A professionally prepared Separation Agreement will not only capture such waivers with the proper legal verbiage, but it will also indicate why this waiver is included (for example, in exchange for a larger share of the matrimonial home, or some other asset in property division).

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide to Spousal Support 1

What It Means When Your Spouse Suggests Mediation

  1. Mediation is typically cheaper than lawyers or the courts
  2. Mediation tends to be the faster divorce process
  3. The courts will require you to consider mediation first
  4. Mediation has an excellent success rate
bag lady Syndrome

Spousal support is a reality in most divorces and needs to be addressed one way or another. It is one area that you don't muck up... it needs to be dealt with properly. Even if you are both deciding to waive on spousal support, you want to make sure that this is PROPERLY captured in your Separation Agreement as it can be revisited by your EX and reopened for YEARS to come... if it is not handled correctly!

Separation Agreement

AM I ENTITLED TO SPOUSAL SUPPORT?

Often we are asked if someone is ‘entitled’ to Spousal Support. The easy answer is typically, “Sure.”

Am I entitled to Spousal Support?

If you stayed at home while your spouse worked. If your income is substantially lower than your spouses. If you were married for many years and have become dependent on your spouse’s income, sure you can be entitled to Spousal Support.

But ‘entitled’ does not mean that you are guaranteed to get it. ‘Entitled’ means that first you must engage a lawyer, pay the retainer, take it to court, justify your claims, get a judge to rule on it, have that ruling enforced and then, lastly, ensure that your spouse pays it. Nobody short of a judge can demand that your entitlements are paid.

Spousal Support

Is Spousal Support Automatic?

Its really important to understand that spousal support is not an automatic right that comes when you divorce in Ontario.  For common law couples, you are never considered married in the province of Ontario and typical spousal support does not apply.

Will I get Support If I was a Stay At Home Parent?

If you are legally married, spousal support is calculated according to a support calculator.  The calculator will generate a support range.  Yes. Likely one side will shoot for the high range and one side will be inclined to aim for the low end.   Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!

Do Women Pay Spousal Support To Men?

Regardless of your gender, the rule of thumb is that if one spouse makes more income than the other, if there is a notable difference in your incomes, or if you stayed at home to take care of the children, then spousal support will typically apply to your situation. If you and your spouse cannot negotiate or agree on spousal support, it will need to be addressed by a judge.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide to Spousal Support 2

The Unofficial Rules of Divorce:

  1. Divorce gets prickly, even in the most amicable situation
  2. It’s often less about the legalities and more about the money
  3. People make expensive mistakes because they don’t make a plan
  4. Before you do anything, understand your rights, obligations & complexities

Support & Your Income.

The law views your marriage as a full financial partnership, therefore when you marry, there is no such thing as your income and your spouse’s income. There is only the combined and shared household income earned as a couple that you both share.

After you separate you or your spouse may be required to continue sharing their income, for a period of time, until both of you can be expected to become better financially established on your own.

What is the purpose of Spousal Support?

Spousal Support is meant to acknowledge the importance of the individual roles assumed by each of you, recognize how you both contributed to the combined finances of your marriage, as well as balancing out any unfair financial hardships your divorce may cause you because your spouse earns more than you.

Even though you receive Spousal Support, this does not mean that you don’t have to learn to support yourself, as the law expects you to learn to look after your own needs to the best of your abilities.

Spousal Support Child Support

"Spousal Support has room to be negotiable."

This does not mean that there is not a time and a place to take a belligerent spouse to court over Spousal Support, but it does mean that there is an awful lot of room to be creative when you are still able to negotiate.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide to Spousal Support 3

The Top 3 Divorce Mistakes People Make

1. Hiring a lawyer before understanding all their negotiation options

2. Succumbing to emotions at the expense of their financial future

3. Not starting with a smart, legal and financially savvy go-forward plan

Spousal Support: Isn't More Better?

Use financial wisdom and money savvy as you negotiate Spousal Support – as more (or less) is not necessarily better. Always remember that Spousal Support can be a two-edged sword and there are tax, benefits and mortgage implications attached to the amount of Spousal Support that is paid or received.

Spousal Support should always be properly calculated and clearly understood by both you and your spouse, (even if one of you is choosing to decline Spousal Support.)

You have numerous options on how you can receive support such as a one-time, lump sum or regular monthly payment spread over a few years. Again, each has very different financial, legal and emotional implications.

Separation Agreement

AM I ENTITLED TO SPOUSAL SUPPORT?

Be aware, in Canada, you may not be able to qualify for a mortgage if spousal support makes up greater than 30% of your income.

Lenders will require you to have other verifiable income sources that make up at least 70% of your total income before they will accept your loan application.

If you intend to purchase a new matrimonial home or to refinance you’re the existing matrimonial home, you should ensure that your spousal support will be considered as qualifying income before you finalize your separation agreement.

What To Expect When You Call The Common Sense Divorce

Separation Agreement

Not everyone is ready to talk with someone in person.  You can call the Common Sense Divorce at anytime and hear a pre-recorded 2 min message about our services.

We will gladly take the time to speak with you about our services and the divorce process in Ontario.  The Common Sense Divorce offers a free 20 min telephone assessment and consultation.

We understand that this is a difficult time and calling us is a big step.  We are going to work hard to make this phone call easier, make you feel at ease and make sure that we respect your privacy.

We understand that you may be just researching and have not made any decisions.  We do not assume that because you are calling, that this means you are divorcing.

Are You Entitled To Share The Matrimonial Home?

Learn more about how the matrimonial home is dealt with in Ontario Separation Agreements.