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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'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 Smile Transparent

Spousal Support 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.  Also in Ontario, this support you pay 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. 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. 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).

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.” 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.

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. 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!

The rule of thumb is that, for instance if one spouse makes more income than the other, if there is a notable difference in your incomes, 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.

GENERATE YOUR SEPARATION ANALYSIS REPORT

Every couple faces unique challenges.
Understand how separation will affect you,
your children, your finances and your future.

DO NOT BEGIN NEGOTIATIONS UNTIL

Spousal 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.

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 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."

What Do I Do First? What Do I Do Next?

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CONSULTATION
Free Telephone Assessment

Our telephone Assessment Consultation will help you better understand your situation, clarify information & help you plan your next steps.

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ORGANIZE
Prep & Planning Session

First meeting: a personalized Orientation & Prep Session to share your story, talk about your finances and get prepped to move forward.

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AGREEMENT
Mediation That Fits Your Situation

Numerous mediation bundles to fit your situation that include your mediator and the financial and legal services, to save you time, money and drama.

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. 

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Family Mediation

Child Support

Divorce in Ontario

The Divorce Process

The Matrimonial Home

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Divorce And Your Money

Pension Valuations

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