Spousal support, or alimony, is usually a contentious subject in a Manitoba divorce. The eventual arrangement often feels unfair to both sides, and can have significant financial impact on both spouses long after the divorce is done.
Not all divorce settlements will include a spousal support provision, but many will. Let the lawyers at Family Lawyer Winnipeg negotiate your settlement to your best advantage.
How is spousal support calculated?
If a spouse is entitled to spousal support at all it will generally be calculated using the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. These guidelines give consideration to a wide variety of factors, including proposed child support arrangements. There are software packages that can help you calculate a starting point for negotiations.
The guidelines take both spouse’s income into account, consider the length of time it may take the lower earning spouse to get self-sufficient, look at the length of the marriage, and consider any special needs. They also consider any hardships either spouse has, such as illness or disability.
Unless you go to court, spousal support is always something that can be negotiated. If you go to court, the courts will determine who gets support, for how long, and how much. It’s always better to try to conduct these negotiations before getting judges involved.
How long do I have to pay spousal support?
This is usually negotiable until it is enshrined in the final divorce decree. Spousal support may be paid for one year, five years, ten years, or indefinitely. The most common arrangements order ½ to 1 year of support for every year of marriage. Lifetime awards are exceedingly rare.
The goal is usually to give the payee time to become self-sufficient.
Yet in some cases, the award will be for the rest of the spouse’s life. If your spouse is 65, you’ve been married for 40 years, and a new career is unlikely then the resulting award may functionally be paid for the rest of both of your natural lifespans.
Some divorcees choose to pay spousal support as a lump sum to avoid adding a new, long-term obligation to their budgets. Sometimes this is even advantageous to the payee. Ask your lawyer for guidance.
Does adultery impact spousal support?
No. Neither spouse’s behavior plays into spousal support calculations at all. It’s a financial arrangement based on the income between both spouses and the contribution both spouses made to the home.
How can I get out of paying spousal support?
You can try to challenge your spouse’s eligibility for support during the divorce process. If you already have a divorce decree that awards your spouse support the only way to get out of it is by requesting a modification.
Modifications are possible when either spouse experiences a significant change in circumstances. For example, if your spouse remarries you can ask the courts to relieve you of your support obligation.
Why choose Family Lawyer Winnipeg?
Our office has very experienced spousal support lawyers with many years of experience. We can help you solve your spousal support problems, and we’ll do it with empathy and legal savvy that gets the job done.
For a consultation, call (204) 896-7777.