Child Support and Spousal Issues

After a divorce/separation, there is a duty on behalf of a spouse to remain responsible to support all members of the family to the best of his or her ability through support payments.

Essentially, child support is calculated according to the spouses’ income. Divorcemate contains a calculation that provides both the amount of child support, and a low, mid and high range for spousal support, if appropriate. In terms of child support, should a payor’s income exceed $150,000, the table amount may be inappropriate. In terms of spousal support, the calculation includes a range of duration, according to years.

In some circumstances, a spouse will commence the Application with a narrative that includes derogatory comments against the other spouse, in relation to child rearing, so as to reduce the amount of child support and/or to use the children as a bargaining chip, to resolve equalization.

As a general principle, when a spouse stays at home to raise the children, he/she has been removed from the workplace and as a consequence, it is unrealistic to expect that he/she will obtain a decent paying job. Spousal support becomes necessary and depending on the age of the spouse, is for an extended period of time.

It is, however, unrealistic and unfair that the spouse will simply be able to collect for the remainder of his/her lifetime. There is an obligation to make significant efforts including retraining.

I advocate for fairness on behalf of women and men, and the traditional values of one spouse working and the other staying at home to raise the children no longer applies to our society, especially considering the cost of real estate in Toronto and outlying areas. Further, it is logical to assume that with only one spouse having the ability to earn a living, it creates an imbalance in the relationship.

In my experience, for self-employed payors, his/her highest earning capacity appears to be prior to or on the date of separation, a purposeful attempt to decrease his/her income for support purposes. However, the payee is not helpless, since he/she can argue that there be an “imputation” of higher income, for support purposes.

There are so many tricks in the land of Family Law, including hiding assets, transferring income to a third-party or future spouse, hiding bank accounts, using others to “park” their income, not disclosing their other employment, to name a few. The law, however is long standing and crystal clear: each spouse is obliged to provide full and complete and ongoing financial disclosure.

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