What Are The Exceptions To Spousal Support

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Following a divorce, the party with a higher income is legally obligated to offer financial support to the other spouse. Such payment has to be made monthly, or one may choose to have it?s as a lump sum. Married spouses who want to divorce and have to factor in spousal support when making a separation agreement have to use the Divorce Act. To determine whether a spouse is required to pay for spousal support, the spouse receiving spousal support must have:

  • Sacrificed their ability to earn income to support their other spouse career advancement.
  • Spent time taking care of children.

??Such payments have to be paid for some time until circumstances demand the change, such as when the supported spouse dies, remarries, cohabitates, or gets full-time employment, among others.

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  If you are the supporting spouse, you should follow all the payments as ordered by the court. However, there are circumstances where exceptions may be applied.

Exceptions To Spousal Support

?To apply exceptions to spousal support, you have to bear the burden of proof which may be done with the help of a?family lawyer in Toronto. Below are some of the exceptions that may be applied depending one case circumstance. Some of them include:

  • Prior alimony or child support obligations:??If a payor has prior spousal support or was obligated to pay for child support, this may significantly affect any subsequent support.?The courts in Canada recognize prior spousal or child support. They may reduce any subsequent spousal support, depending on the payor’s ability to pay. Note that where your spouse may have applied for child support and spousal support, the court will give precedence to child support.
  • Debt payment:?While debt should not be factored in when calculating spousal support, in some cases, this may be an issue. If, as the payor, you have huge debts that have dramatically affected your income, and thus the ability to pay for spousal support, this may be a factor to be considered by the judge. The judge allows for a reduction which may be for a specific period regarding the outstanding debt. If the debts are too huge, it?s maybe advisable to file for bankruptcy. While spousal support is to be discharged in bankruptcy, it would be possible for you to deduct such payments from your income during the calculation of bankruptcy costs by your insolvency trustee. Typically, for the exception, you have to prove that:
  • The total payor debts go beyond total payor assets
  • The debt must be incurred in an attempt to support the family in the cohabitation period.??
  • The debt must be outstandingly high, and the payor has no other option than to pay for the debts.
  • Payor?s illness or disability: An illness or a disability may prevent the payor from working. If you can no longer work and this has led to a decrease in your income, you have a right to file a motion and have the spousal support reduced or even terminated. Where the court is satisfied that your illness could affect your ability to pay alimony, they may request a hearing.
  • Unequal division of assets:?Where you can prove that property was not divided equally, the court may use this to reduce the spousal support you pay. Other considerations, such as high property awards may also come into play. In such cases, you should look for a lawyer who is conversant with?Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines?to advise whether this could apply as an exception in your case.

How Much Spousal Support Will I Pay?

Determining what amount to pay for spousal support is difficult. Every state has its own guidelines on how much amount is derived. But a judge has to consider many factors such as the need of the spouse to be supported and the payor’s ability. The judge may also factor in other reasons but not limited to:

  • The age of both spouses
  • Possibility of the supported spouse acquiring some assets in future
  • How long the marriage was in force

 Since each divorce case is different, it?s vital to retain a family lawyer. Your lawyer can guide you on how much spousal support you may be required to pay according to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines.  

 When You Fail To Pay Spousal Support

?A payor is obligated to follow spousal support orders. When this doesn?t happen, the supported spouse may file a?contempt of court. If you were unable to meet your spousal support obligations due to some of the reasons states above, you might have to prove to the court that you never refused to make such payments.??

Even if you have all the reasons for the burden of proof, you will need a lawyer to guide you on how to go about the process to avoid any chance of facing fines and penalties.


As the editor of the blog, She curate insightful content that sparks curiosity and fosters learning. With a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail, she strive to bring diverse perspectives and engaging narratives to readers, ensuring every piece informs, inspires, and enriches.

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